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Opinion


Byrne: Abbott lauds Drug Court Month while denying funds to program

Travis County district courts are still reeling from the sting of being denied renewal application funding by Gov. Greg Abbott’s office for our county’s drug treatment court program for parents. We understand this decision to be a punishment by the governor as the direct result of a political dispute between him and the Travis County sheriff regarding immigration policy. The denial of...


Commentary: How the Legislature is choking the Texas film industry

Commentary: How the Legislature is choking the Texas film industry

AMC Network recently premiered 10 episodes of “The Son,” a series based on the celebrated novel spanning generations of Texans written by Austin novelist Philipp Meyer. Reviews highlighted that it was filmed on location here in Texas, with the landscape giving the series an epic heft. And if the Texas Legislature eliminates the Texas Moving Image Industry Incentive Program — which...
Two Views: Trump administration remains an enigma after 100 days

Two Views: Trump administration remains an enigma after 100 days

Never before in modern American history have we known less about a presidency after its first 100 days than now. The Trump administration remains an enigma. Its ideological convictions, competency, priorities and most influential voices are all uncertain, perhaps even more so now than on Inauguration Day. In the crucial realm of national security, the signs are particularly mixed. For us conservatives...
Two Views: Glitz can’t disguise these 100 days of ineptitude

Two Views: Glitz can’t disguise these 100 days of ineptitude

Back in 1982, Donald Trump was trying to seduce Holiday Inn into a partnership in a casino that he wanted to build in Atlantic City. In truth, the project was more dream than reality. Trump had acquired a parcel on the boardwalk, but nothing much had been done with it. So when the board of directors of Holiday Inn wanted to visit the site, Trump needed to put on a show — and do so in a hurry...
Saldaña opens up on resigning from Austin ISD board, district’s future

Saldaña opens up on resigning from Austin ISD board, district’s future

This week, Paul Saldaña completed his last day as a board member of the Austin Independent School District, where he represented District 6 in Southeast Austin. During his 2 1/2 years on the board, Saldaña focused mostly on equity issues in advocating for the district’s underrepresented students. His departure leaves the board — which has a majority of low-income, Hispanic...
Mackowiak: Compromise bathroom bill threads the needle

Mackowiak: Compromise bathroom bill threads the needle

Perhaps it is a sign of how much our culture has changed that a simple notion — that boys and girls should not shower together in schools — is considered controversial. The so-called “bathroom bill,” which seeks to prevent the mixing of boys and girls in our schools, passed the Texas Senate under the able leadership of state Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham). That bill was effectively...
Smith: Texas lawmakers are locked in the bathroom

Smith: Texas lawmakers are locked in the bathroom

The Texas Legislature seems to have locked itself in the bathroom — and it won’t come out. Outside, millions of Texans — like confused family members wondering what could be wrong — pound on the bathroom door, pleading for lawmakers to come out. We refer, of course, to legislation that would force transgender folks to use public restrooms designated for their birth gender....
Letters to the editor: May 1, 2017

Letters to the editor: May 1, 2017

There are more than 430,000 registered motorcyclists in Texas. May is the beginning of prime motorcycle riding season. We can all expect to see more motorcycles on the road. Please be aware that motorcycles have a smaller profile, so not only are they easy to overlook, it is also more difficult to judge their speed and distance. A 2013 study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found...
Letters to the editor: April 28, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 28, 2017

Re: April 15 article, “CPS investigator: Is this the hardest job in Texas?” I am responding to your question — “CPS investigator: Is this the hardest job in Texas?” — with an unequivocal “Yes!” I speak from personal experience — 23 years as Child Protective Services caseworker and supervisor in the Houston area from 1979 to 2002. You have to be...
Commentary: Trump’s budget should fund global operations beyond defense

Commentary: Trump’s budget should fund global operations beyond defense

The Trump administration’s budget proposal severely cuts money for diplomacy and development in favor of the military. While on the surface this looks like an attempt to make us safer by strengthening our military, it will cost us our overall national security. An increase of $54 billion in military spending offset by a 30-percent decrease in funding for the State Department and a 28-percent...

Commentary: Honor Muny’s history by using the land for more than golf

Col. George Brackenridge donated 350 acres of beautiful land in West Austin to the University of Texas in 1910 “for the purpose of advancing and promoting university education.” For more than 100 years — and without a master plan in place — UT has used parts of the land for research, student housing and a variety of uses. The 141-acre Lions Municipal Golf Course — also...
Commentary: House’s approval of Senate Bill 4 is step back for Texas

Commentary: House’s approval of Senate Bill 4 is step back for Texas

I am from Mission, a town right on the border that was built on the backs of immigrants. To people from Mission and border areas throughout Texas, undocumented immigrants are our family members, friends and classmates. That is why today is a sad day for the people of Mission and Texas as a whole. Senate Bill 4, the bill to eliminate sanctuary cities in Texas, was passed through the Texas House despite...
Commentary: A historian’s take on Trump’s presidency so far

Commentary: A historian’s take on Trump’s presidency so far

On the eve of Donald Trump’s inauguration as president, pundits predicted one of two things: either Trump would “blow up” the presidency — as he promised during his campaign and pursue a radical agenda — or he would moderate and “play by the rules,” as Republican Party leaders hoped. Trump has done neither of these things. We have every reason to expect more...
Commentary: Urge lawmakers to restore transparency in Texas government

Commentary: Urge lawmakers to restore transparency in Texas government

There’s no question that Americans — particularly Texans — are increasingly suspicious of government. Trust in government is at a dangerously low level. That’s why virtually every candidate who runs for the Texas Legislature loudly proclaims that he or she is all for transparency and accountability. Unfortunately, campaign season is a distant memory at this point in Texas&rsquo...
Herman: Texas Legislature mulls ‘experiential dinners’ bill, aka beer

Herman: Texas Legislature mulls ‘experiential dinners’ bill, aka beer

I realize that by being an obnoxious prohibitionist (is there any other kind?) I’m probably missing out on some things in life, such as the joy of swirling a wine glass while saying things like, “flaccid, yet horny.” (Thanks to the late, great Robin Williams for that one.) And, it turns out, all law-abiding Texans (is there any other kind?) also might be missing out on some alcohol-related...
Letters to the editor: April 27, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 27, 2017

U.S. Rep. Roger Williams launched an attack on consumer financial protection by attempting to block an important rule for prepaid debit cards. The rule, issued in October by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, provides safeguards for those who use prepaid cards to make purchases and manage their money. In addition to protections against loss, theft and unauthorized charges, the bureau&rsquo...
Misguided faith in government is unlearned lesson of LA riots

Misguided faith in government is unlearned lesson of LA riots

This weekend marks 100 days of the Trump administration. This milestone also coincides with a very important anniversary. Twenty-five years ago, riots exploded in Los Angeles after four policemen were acquitted in the violent beating of Rodney King. Sixty-three lives were lost in the riots, with the estimated total economic cost pegged at $1 billion, with $735 million in property damage and 1,550...
Nowrasteh: SB4 aimed at ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ is wrong for Texas

Nowrasteh: SB4 aimed at ‘sanctuary jurisdictions’ is wrong for Texas

President Trump’s focus on immigration enforcement has filtered down to the state-level in Texas. The State Senate passed Sen. Charles Perry’s (R-Lubbock) controversial bill, Senate Bill 4, in February. SB4 would penalize every so-called “sanctuary jurisdiction,” which includes cities, counties and universities who do not honor every federal request for immigration enforcement...
U.S. Rep. Williams: CHOICE Act would have toughest penalties for fraud

U.S. Rep. Williams: CHOICE Act would have toughest penalties for fraud

Economists at a prominent think tank based in Washington, D.C. last week reported that a full repeal of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act would boost the economy by 1 percent and generate $340 billion in federal revenue over a 10-year period. Dodd-Frank, as it is called for short, was passed by the Democrat controlled Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama...
Hunter: Like parts of politicians’ agenda? No need to embrace it all

Hunter: Like parts of politicians’ agenda? No need to embrace it all

When diehard Donald Trump supporters ask what you think of the president, they aren’t looking for a policy discussion. They want a thumbs up and maybe even a Make America Great Again hat to appear. The reverse is also true. When diehard Trump haters ask what you think of the president, they don’t want anything in-depth either. They want a thumbs down, and a Hitler mustache on his face...
Commentary: Arkansas’ ‘assembly line’ executions raise issues of equity

Commentary: Arkansas’ ‘assembly line’ executions raise issues of equity

The nation has been treated this week to an unseemly spectacle: Arkansas has been champing at the bit to execute eight prisoners — in the style of an assembly line — in the first mass execution since the death penalty was restored in 1976. Opponents of the death penalty blasted the rush to death: The plan was to execute the eight over 11 days, with the death chamber booked twice a night...
Herman: Proposal to require Texas lawmakers’ OK for state statue moves

Herman: Proposal to require Texas lawmakers’ OK for state statue moves

The battle over the University of Texas’ Jefferson Davis statue is over. So now we move on to the battle over the battle. And we all know where those are fought. Let’s say it all together: “Our state Capitol.” Quick background: The statue of the Confederate president stood (proudly in the eyes of some, disgracefully in the eyes of some others) on UT’s Main Mall from 1933...
Herman: 'My Cousin Vinny' and the race for State Bar president

Herman: 'My Cousin Vinny' and the race for State Bar president

Let us count the ways that it’s well worth your time and trouble to become a lawyer. You get to help people and make a living wage doing it — perhaps even enough to live in Austin. And you get to stand up in court and say cool stuff like, “I object!” And you get to star on cloying daytime TV ads hunting for people who have been victimized, perhaps by the manufacturer of a lawn...
Commentary: Funds for Texas Gulf restoration are finally flowing

Commentary: Funds for Texas Gulf restoration are finally flowing

The Deepwater Horizon oil rig exploded almost seven long years ago, but this month marks the first time the Gulf states —including Texas — will receive money from BP’s Deepwater Horizon 2016 settlement. In total, the state will ultimately receive nearly $1 billion that can be used for Gulf coast restoration from all the different penalty funds. The sum is enormous and yet not nearly...
Commentary: Overhaul to Texas bail bond system would burden taxpayers

Commentary: Overhaul to Texas bail bond system would burden taxpayers

I am a bail bondsman. Let me give you a peek at my life’s work, which in 2017 suddenly is endangered by the Texas Legislature. I am in a business where I put my dollars at risk. I also put my safety at risk. I do work vital to the Texas judicial system. Friends who are judges and law enforcement officers agree. If I didn’t do this work, government would have to. Taxpayers would pay millions...
Letters to the editor: April 25, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 25, 2017

Almost two-thirds of the population in our country’s jails have a mental illness. This means that jails are currently our largest provider of mental health care. Most of us know someone living with a mental illness and see the distress it causes in one’s life. When incarcerated, not only will a person’s symptoms likely worsen, but the person will be at higher risk of experiencing...
Castillo: Trump ups ante on border wall as government shutdown looms

Castillo: Trump ups ante on border wall as government shutdown looms

Embroiled in a child custody battle in a Travis County courtroom, conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Alex Jones insists he means what he says when he’s working. His own attorney, however, says Jones’ bombastic on-air persona is merely performance art – just for show, folks, that’s all. Who and what are we to believe? A far cry from President Donald Trump, another well-known...
John Young: Resistant to facts on climate? Wait – we have pictures

John Young: Resistant to facts on climate? Wait – we have pictures

The word is that Donald Trump isn’t much of a reader. Former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Taran Killam affirms this — that then-candidate Trump “struggled to read” when preparing for a dismal guest-hosting of SNL last year. That’s OK, Mr. President. Research finds a broad swath of our population, up to half of us, is what University of Indiana researcher...
Phillips: Texas should see charter schools as success, not experiment

Phillips: Texas should see charter schools as success, not experiment

The sign planted on a sprawling lot in North Austin is hopeful: “Future Home of NYOS Charter School,” it says in big, black block letters. NYOS, which stands for Not Your Ordinary School, bought the vacant 10-acre lot adjacent to its main campus on North Lamar Boulevard nearly a year ago. While the grass is cut and the property well-maintained, there is no sign of construction —...
Commentary: HB 2899 diminishes rights of LGBT community, local control

Commentary: HB 2899 diminishes rights of LGBT community, local control

In their zeal to discriminate against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender persons, Texas legislators want a path to kill LGBT civil rights under the radar. Legislators think they found a solution in House Bill 2899, which would prevent local governments from enacting laws to ban discrimination against any class of citizens not protected under state law. HB 2899 mirrors North Carolina’s now...
Commentary: Protect patients from nonmedical prescription switching

Commentary: Protect patients from nonmedical prescription switching

The Texas legislature is considering a bill that prevents health plans from unfairly denying patients essential medications prescribed by their physicians – drugs that could be their only defense against serious conditions. House Bill 2882 and its companion, Senate Bill 1967, offer a much-needed protection for Texans suffering from long-term, serious illnesses, who deserve the health care for...

EDITORIAL: LASA, Kealing magnets opens for more Austin blacks, Latinos

The Austin Independent School District has taken a bold step in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in its acclaimed Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Kealing Middle School magnet program. It’s about time. Now, we urge AISD trustees and Austin schools Superintendent Paul Cruz to take another giant step by establishing a middle school and high school — on par with LASA...
Trump’s order a case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do’

Trump’s order a case of ‘Do as I say, not as I do’

Call it a case of “Do as I say, not as I do.” Harkening back to a cornerstone of his campaign, President Trump this week signed a “Buy American, Hire American” executive order that tightens rules under which visas are awarded to skilled foreign workers. The order also directs the federal government to prioritize buying American-made goods and hiring American firms for federal...
Commentary: Pass tax reform to cultivate growth of small businesses

Commentary: Pass tax reform to cultivate growth of small businesses

In 1989, my mother and I started a business out of our garage. We worked hard, raised money to get our business started and developed an office chair based on my dad’s expertise in ergonomics. We still believe it’s the best chair on the market. Two years later, as our business was gaining steam, we discovered an unwelcome surprise: We owed an additional $86,000 in taxes on top of what...
Letters to the editor: April 22, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 22, 2017

Re: April 8 commentary,“Meaux: Lawsuit reform works in Texas, but there’s reason for concern.” Hazel Meaux’s recent editorial was fascinating. Until she alerted me to the horrors of “abusive hailstorm lawsuits,” I had no idea they existed. Apparently, “storm-chasing lawyers” are “aggressively” recruiting Texas plaintiffs and collecting massive...
Editorial: Doors of Austin’s LASA, Kealing magnets open for more blacks, Latinos

Editorial: Doors of Austin’s LASA, Kealing magnets open for more blacks, Latinos

The Austin Independent School District has taken a bold step in addressing the lack of racial and ethnic diversity in its acclaimed Liberal Arts and Science Academy and Kealing Middle School magnet program. It’s about time. Now, we urge Austin ISD trustees and Superintendent Paul Cruz to take another giant step by establishing a middle school and high school — on par with LASA and Kealing...

Letters to the editor: April 23, 2017

Re: April 16 commentary,“Adler: Initial draft of CodeNext map could bring Austin together.” His honor, Austin Mayor Steve Adler, spends the bulk of the article encouraging us to “chill out,” saying “we’re all in this together” and supposedly advocating for “protecting the character and quality of life in our neighborhoods.” Then he ends his piece...
Phillips: Texas should see charter schools as success, not experiment

Phillips: Texas should see charter schools as success, not experiment

The sign planted on a sprawling lot in North Austin is hopeful: “Future Home of NYOS Charter School,” it says in big, black block letters. NYOS, which stands for Not Your Ordinary School, bought the vacant 10-acre lot adjacent to its main campus on North Lamar Boulevard nearly a year ago. While the grass is cut and the property well-maintained, there is no sign of construction —...
Viewpoints: CPS overhaul needs holistic solutions, hearty funding

Viewpoints: CPS overhaul needs holistic solutions, hearty funding

The question has been asked: Is the job of a Child Protective Services investigator – or any job at the agency, for that matter –the toughest job in Texas? The answer depends on whom you ask. One thing is for certain: It doesn’t have to be. Whether or not the job – be that of caseworker, supervisor or front-line administrator – continues to be seen as among the worst...

Opinion: A road map for dealing with campus radicals

Jonathan Haidt is a member of one of America’s smallest fraternities — m those who attempt to see beyond their own prejudices. In the left-leaning Chronicle of Higher Education, he notes that “intimidation is the new normal” on college campuses. The examples are well-known: The shout-down/shutdown of Heather Mac Donald at Claremont McKenna College; the riots sparked by Milo...
Bestsellers, 4/30/17

Bestsellers, 4/30/17

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘The Fix,’ David Baldacci 2. ‘The Black Book,’ James Patterson and David Ellis 3. ‘Fast and Loose,’ Stuart Woods 4. ‘Thrawn,’ Timothy Zahn 5. ‘All By Myself, Alone,” Marry Higgins Clark 6. ‘Norse Mythology,’ Neil Gaiman 7. ‘The Women in the Castle,’ Jessica Shattuck 8. &lsquo...
A look at how laws promoted discrimination

A look at how laws promoted discrimination

Recommended reading “The Color of Law: A Forgotten History of How Our Government Segregated America” by Richard Rothstein (Liveright). Legal scholar and housing expert Richard Rothstein examines one of the ugliest aspects of the American century and makes the argument that it was laws themselves, rather than the actions of private citizens or corporations, that actively framed out and...

Opinion: The day Bill O’Reilly got fired

On the day Bill O’Reilly was fired, Serena Williams announced she was 20 weeks pregnant. Fans did the math and concluded Williams must have had a baby on board in January when she won her 23rd Grand Slam singles title in dominating fashion. That, said TV tennis analyst Pam Shriver, made Williams’ win “even more spectacular.” That same day, director Ava DuVernay was basking...

Opinion: Alas, the mortgage interest deduction cannot be pried away

WASHINGTON — Attempting comprehensive tax reform is like trying to tug many bones from the clamped jaws of many mastiffs. Every provision of the code — now approaching 4 million words — was put there to placate a clamorous faction, or to create a grateful group that will fund its congressional defenders. Still, Washington will take another stab at comprehensiveness, undeterred by...
A look back at Jim Jones, plus Suzanne Burns’ strong voice

A look back at Jim Jones, plus Suzanne Burns’ strong voice

“Kool-Aid rather than equality is what the rest of the world remembers” — a searing account of what has since become a byword for religious cultism, in “The Road to Jonestown: Jim Jones and Peoples Temple” by Jeff Guinn. That Jim Jones (1931-1978) was disturbed — no term of psychiatric art but still true — was plain for most to see way back before he became...
Letters to the editor: April 29, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 29, 2017

Re: April 23 letter to the editor, “Forget Muny; save black city residents.” Thanks to the author writing — and to the Statesman for publishing the letter regarding the city and state’s dishonest campaign to save Muny. It’s beyond disingenuous for the Save Muny effort to conveniently use a fleeting, apocryphal moment of racial integration as a noteworthy saving point...

Krauthammer: Populism on pause

Yesterday’s conventional wisdom: A wave of insurgent populism is sweeping the West, threatening its foundational institutions — the European Union, the Western alliance, even liberal democracy itself. Today’s conventional wisdom (post-first-round French presidential election): The populist wave has crested, soon to abate. Chances are that both verdicts are wrong. The anti-establishment...

Collins: Trump’s can’t-do record

Well, heck, who said Donald Trump wasn’t going to accomplish anything in his first 100 days? All of a sudden there’s a one-page tax plan and a raft of deal-making, while the Senate was bused over to the White House grounds for a briefing on North Korea. Maybe the president believes that when you can make an entire chamber of Congress ride around like so many tour groups, the world will...

Opinion: Is Macron the EU’s last best hope?

For the French establishment, Sunday’s presidential election came close to a near-death experience. As the Duke of Wellington said of Waterloo, it was a “damn near-run thing.” Neither candidate of the two major parties that have ruled France since Charles De Gaulle even made it into the runoff, an astonishing repudiation of France’s national elite. Marine Le Pen, who recently...
Opinion: The nightmare of the North Korea-Trump standoff

Opinion: The nightmare of the North Korea-Trump standoff

President Donald Trump is scary in many ways, but perhaps the most frightening nightmare is of him blundering into a new Korean war. It would begin because the present approach of leaning on China to pressure North Korea will likely fail. Trump will grow angry at public snickering at the emptiness of his threats. At some point, U.S. intelligence will see a North Korean missile prepared for a test...
Letters to the editor: April 26, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 26, 2017

I get it. We like blowing stuff up. It’s a primal attraction. Explosives are powerful — but indiscriminate. Fourteen states are using cyanide bombs to kill wildlife — and Texas leads the country in animal deaths by sodium cyanide M-44s. Thousands of coyotes, foxes, possums, raccoons and skunks meet their end this way in our state. According figures from the Humane Society of the...
PERSPECTIVE: We have a double standard when it comes to religion and violence

PERSPECTIVE: We have a double standard when it comes to religion and violence

Three people were killed in California in yet another mass shooting. The culprit? A man who had a history of violence and was known for yelling out religious slogans. Shortly before the slayings, he publicly praised his god and guns on Facebook. The shooter was Cedric Anderson; he was 53 and a former Christian pastor. On April 10 in San Bernardino, Calif., he killed his estranged wife, an 8-year-old...
Two Views: Families caring for abused kids deserve community’s support

Two Views: Families caring for abused kids deserve community’s support

How did we fail Colton Turner? This is the question Texas was asking itself in the wake of the two-year-old’s death in 2014. Now, the entire state is yet again asking a similar question while attempting to address the statewide broken system that is Child Protective Services. Senate Bill 11 and similar proposals are the legislative body’s most recent attempt to reform the overburdened...
Letters to the editor: April 24, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 24, 2017

Re: April 13 article,“Texas farmers support bill to make hemp a potential cash crop.” Your article regarding the legalization of marijuana that appeared in the Texas Legislature in this session discusses the different bills that have been introduced that focus on issues like expanding the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana and the decriminalization of its possession. I...
Two Views: Gay, lesbian couples are solution to foster care backlog

Two Views: Gay, lesbian couples are solution to foster care backlog

The backlog of children in the Texas foster care system awaiting placement with a foster family has been front and center in recent debates about how to best reform the state’s child welfare system. News reports of children sleeping in the offices of Child Protective Services caseworkers has led many people to question why there is such a critical shortage of foster families across the state...

Opinion: “March for Science” a vanity of the left

Do you have march fatigue yet? The left, apparently, does not, so we’re in for some street theater on Earth Day, April 22, with the so-called March for Science. It’s hard to think of a better way to undermine the public’s faith in science than to stage demonstrations in Washington, D.C., and around the country modeled on the Women’s March on Washington that took place in January...
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