You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Opinion


Trump doubles down on a border wall, and a government shutdown looms

The border fence between El Paso and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. (The New York Times)   What are we to make of Alex Jones, the conspiracy theorist extraordinaire who is embroiled in a child custody battle in a Travis County courtroom?


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...
Herman: Alex Jones, often offensive, plays defense at custody trial

Herman: Alex Jones, often offensive, plays defense at custody trial

The strategy was simple, transparent and exactly what you would do if you were battling Alex Jones in a child custody case: try to make the Alex Jones on the witness stand look like the Alex Jones on Infowars. Success, by any means necessary under the rules of courtroom engagement, could mean jurors in the Jones family soap opera would see him as a guy you wouldn’t ask for directions, much less...
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: 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...
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...
Commentary: We can lead the way to a nuclear renaissance

Commentary: We can lead the way to a nuclear renaissance

Creative destruction has hit the electric power industry. This process typically occurs when lower-cost, better technology becomes available. In electric power, renewables and natural gas are displacing nuclear power and coal-fired power plants. With respect to coal plants, many would say “Good riddance. Coal is too expensive, too dangerous and too dirty anyway.” But when it comes to nuclear...
Commentary: ‘Blue tarp bills’ threaten Texas property owners

Commentary: ‘Blue tarp bills’ threaten Texas property owners

Your property rights are under assault at the Texas Capitol. Insurance lobbyists and their allies at the self-styled “Texans for Lawsuit Reform” are pushing legislation that will mean insurance companies pay you as little as late as possible for claims. House Bill 1774 and Senate Bill 10, better known as the “blue tarp bills,” strengthen the hand of insurance companies in property-claims...
Commentary: Earth Day 2017 must be about science and politics

Commentary: Earth Day 2017 must be about science and politics

Natural scientists would rather work in their labs or their natural labs, such as in the Maya Tropical Forest or on Himalayan glaciers. Every part of this planet holds unanswered questions that scientists would joyously study for a hundred lifetimes. It takes much to rouse scientists to explain their concerns for humanity about the declines of nature. Activism takes scientists out of their comfort...
Letters to the editor: April 21, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 21, 2017

Re: April 13 article,“Bill to transfer Muny from UT to state parks unit wins easy Senate OK.” The University of Texas has a history of violating the spirit — if not the letter — of Col. George Brackenridge’s will that gave his large tract of land on both sides of the Colorado River to be used for educational purposes. His hope was for UT to move its campus there. But...
Herman: Confrontation coming in Alex Jones’ child custody trial

Herman: Confrontation coming in Alex Jones’ child custody trial

It was a day with a dramatic arc that would warm a theater major’s heart. Day three of the child custody battle between professional provocateur Alex Jones and his ex-wife Kelly Jones began at 8:35 a.m. when he entered a Travis County courtroom, already looking impatient, already looking like a guy looking for somebody to accuse of being a member of the Trilateral Commission. Already looking...
Commentary: United debacle a lesson for future business leaders

Commentary: United debacle a lesson for future business leaders

The vivid videos of an elderly physician being dragged down the aisle of a United Airlines plane, along with recent scandals engulfing Fox News, Wells Fargo, Volkswagen and other firms, highlight the importance of teaching business ethics and business law effectively in business schools and elsewhere. As a professor who teaches business ethics, I have a unique view on how to improve education in &ldquo...
Herman: Austin man lived for 50 years in oldest building on UT campus

Herman: Austin man lived for 50 years in oldest building on UT campus

I had lots of feedback to my April 9 column about the interesting history, sad present and questionable future of the Arthur P. Watson House, which, built in 1853 and remodeled many times since, is the oldest building on the University of Texas campus. Thanks to all who weighed in, including those who agreed with me that it would be nice if the abandoned and fenced-in building could somehow be saved...
Commentary: DA needs special prosecutor for cases of police misconduct

Commentary: DA needs special prosecutor for cases of police misconduct

Austin has had its share of tragic police shootings and wrongful beatings over the years. Most have involved the city’s African-American and Latino communities — so much so that the U.S. Department of Justice intervened in 2007 at the behest of the Austin NAACP and Texas Civil Rights Project. The Justice Department concluded its review four years later, with the Austin Police Department...
Letters to the editor: April 20, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 20, 2017

Re: April 6 article, “Bills stalling or stopping bullet train pass Texas Senate committee.” There are a few people who, apparently, have little knowledge of how efficient high-speed rail can be. I would ask them to travel to Europe to ride on ICE, TGV or the Eurostar. We Americans have such an outdated rail system. The Europeans built an entirely separate rail system for their high speed...
Commentary: Without globalization, adios ‘Texas miracle’

Commentary: Without globalization, adios ‘Texas miracle’

Texas’ outsized economic success is sometimes referred to as the “Texas miracle.” Since 1990, the state has added over 5 million jobs, growing nearly twice as fast as the nation. The numbers for 2017 show Texas growing at an annual rate near 3 percent. Today’s Texas economy rose out of the ashes of the 1980s oil bust and banking crisis and has been one of the biggest economic...
Jack Hunter: Is Alex Jones an inside job?

Jack Hunter: Is Alex Jones an inside job?

All movements, right and left, attract extremists. A libertarian movement that questions everything government does was probably bound to elevate someone like radio host Alex Jones; who, among other crazy things, thinks the federal government uses juice boxes to turn people, and frogs, gay. I have long been embarrassed that too many self-identifying libertarians sullied our brand by buying into this...
Pitts: Turns out Alex Jones was only pretending to be a madman

Pitts: Turns out Alex Jones was only pretending to be a madman

So it turns out Alex Jones was only kidding. That time the radio host and ringmaster of the “Infowars” website said the government brought Ebola into the country to terrorize us? That time he said a Beyonce video was created to start a new civil war, that time he wished gang rape on Jennifer Lopez, those times he suggested the Oklahoma City bombing, the Sept. 11 attacks and the bombing...
Herman: The children in Alex Jones’ life — his, Sandy Hook’s

Herman: The children in Alex Jones’ life — his, Sandy Hook’s

In a third-floor courtroom in downtown Austin, the mask, if there is one, might come off of Alex Jones. If it does come off, the more than 20 years he’s spent cultivating something of a cult following as the blowhard skeptic who skeptically blows hard about all manner of conspiracies could be out the window. And if it doesn’t come off, he could lose custody of his three kids. That &mdash...
Commentary: Syrian regime change would not save lives

Commentary: Syrian regime change would not save lives

To our lasting chagrin, Americans have learned Middle East dictatorships are less like pottery store merchandise (“you break it, you own it”) and more like Jenga towers: remove one piece and the whole structure collapses. In Iraq and Libya the pieces have not been wooden toys but neighborhoods and families. Ill-conceived attempts at humanitarian relief tore social fissures the US military...
Commentary: U.S. needs to invest more in STEM education

Commentary: U.S. needs to invest more in STEM education

As a kid, I spent winters dreaming of snow days. While classmates were sledding or making snow angels during unexpected snow days, my brother and I were mixing “treatments” in beakers and peering at blastocyst cells through a microscope. That’s because my mother, like many mothers all over the country, needed to take us to work when child care wasn’t available. Her office was...
John Young: Fox News: the official state propaganda arm

John Young: Fox News: the official state propaganda arm

It’s a tradition in many militarized cultures, like turkey and cranberry sauce. First comes the military show of force. Then come the goose-stepping troops. You may think this to be a reference to the goons of North Korea, or the vipers of Syria. It is. It’s also a reference to “Fox and Friends.” First, Syria: Did you notice that Bashar al-Assad’s air force was flying...
David Brooks: This is what makes an institution thick

David Brooks: This is what makes an institution thick

Joe Toscano and I worked at Incarnation summer camp in Connecticut a few decades ago. Joe went on to become an extremely loving father of five and a fireman in Watertown, Massachusetts. Joe was a community-building guy — serving his town, organizing events like fishing derbies for bevies of kids, radiating infectious and neighborly joy. Joe collapsed and died while fighting a two-alarm fire...
Smith: Tax cuts for the poor, middle class help economy the most

Smith: Tax cuts for the poor, middle class help economy the most

Economists who lean toward the free-market side of the ideological spectrum often say that tax cuts help the U.S. economy by encouraging people to work more. Greg Mankiw, a Harvard economist who earns a very high income from his famous textbooks, has repeatedly claimed that higher taxes will discourage him from working more. The supposed mechanism is simple — tax cuts raise the amount of money...
Oppenheimer: Surprise! Mexico is leading a pro-democracy drive

Oppenheimer: Surprise! Mexico is leading a pro-democracy drive

The most surprising — and hopeful — recent development in Latin America’s diplomatic scene is Mexico’s decision to champion the regional offensive to restore democratic rule in Venezuela. I could hardly believe it when I first heard about it. Mexico’s new pro-democracy activism is a major departure from President Enrique Pena Nieto’s ruling Institutional Revolutionary...
Crisp: Children and war: More questions than answers

Crisp: Children and war: More questions than answers

Morality and war have always been uncomfortable bedfellows. Maybe things were simpler in the past. The Jehovah of the Old Testament was largely a god of wrath and battle, and citizens of other nations — Hittites, Amalekites, Philistines and many others — were often subjected to merciless, uncomplicated slaughter. And not just their soldiers. These are typical marching orders, delivered...
Letters to the editor: April 18, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 18, 2017

Re: April 9 article, “Postcards from the river’s edge.” The retirees stand at Boquillas Canyon Overlook and observe the people across the Rio Grande on horses. They say the people are waiting to sneak over into the U.S. I say to those retirees: Go down to the water. The horsemen will invite them to get in a rowboat, then ride a horse into town and enjoy a lovely dinner in Boquillas...
Commentary: Austin Convention Center plan could rev up economic engine

Commentary: Austin Convention Center plan could rev up economic engine

You may be hearing some early rumblings about an expansion of the Austin Convention Center and wonder why you should care and support such an effort. It may not be obvious why an increase in tourism to Austin would help those who already live here. Here’s why: Tourism means jobs. A lot of jobs. In 2015, Austin and the surrounding area welcomed more than 24 million visitors—folks who toured...

Tell Central Texas about the woman who raised you

Please tell us about your mother. As part of a special tribute to Central Texas mothers, we would like to share those stories for a Mother's Day package we'll publish in May. We realize that mothers can be defined in several ways — as grandmothers or other women who stepped into the role of being moms when circumstances called for that. The idea came up after the many emails and calls I received...

Stand Your Ground law makes victim the culprit

We need to change laws that enable vigilante fanatics to do harm to others and then be treated as if they were the victims. The Stand Your Ground law in Florida does just that. But it goes further in giving them legal cover when they pursue, shoot and kill unarmed people as long as it's done in self-defense. Let that marinate a minute. That means an armed person (call him George Zimmerman) who targets...

Painting Trayvon case in black and white hurts all

In talking about the Trayvon Martin case last week, my son said something that stopped me: "Enough about race," he said while talking on the phone. "All the focus on race is overshadowing a terrible tragedy and dehumanizing the victim." "Say what?" I responded. "Don't you understand, Mom?" he said. "This case is about a teenager, who went to the store,...
Commentary: Predatory drug pricing harms patients, health care reform

Commentary: Predatory drug pricing harms patients, health care reform

Each day, Central Texans are forced to make difficult decisions about their health. The high price of drugs has created an unfortunate reality for the most vulnerable among us: a choice between basic necessities and taking daily prescription medications. Many need those drugs to survive. It’s particularly galling to see prices for drugs that have been around for decades suddenly and steeply...
Moore: New protocols could yield transparency in officer-related cases

Moore: New protocols could yield transparency in officer-related cases

Few cases are of more legitimate concern to this community than officer-involved shootings. Beyond the lives that are lost— whether or not as the result of justifiable uses of force — there is ultimately the issue of public trust and confidence. That trust and confidence depends upon the knowledge that the investigation and, when warranted, prosecution is fair, impartial, transparent,...

SantaCruz: With a citizenship test, mom’s worries turn into smiles

A recent drive to San Antonio with my mother, Alicia, was uncommonly quiet. Our visit south wasn’t a quick mother-daughter getaway meant to enjoy the city’s beautiful scenery or popular restaurants. Our mission was to get my mother to her interview with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services — a critical step in her quest to become a U.S. citizen. My job was to ensure she arrived...
Editorial: Preserving Muny as a golf course is worth the effort

Editorial: Preserving Muny as a golf course is worth the effort

The future of the Austin’s Lions Municipal Golf, which sits on land the city leases from the University of Texas, hangs on what happens locally or what happens at the Legislature. In this case, the better option for the golf course, also known Muny, is the one that preserves its nationally-recognized history in the nation’s Civil Rights Movement. Preserving Muny pits two powerful interests...
Commentary: HB 1336 is a plan for STAAR testing that deserves support

Commentary: HB 1336 is a plan for STAAR testing that deserves support

At the recent Save Texas Schools rally, I listened to state Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) talk about his bipartisan bill, House Bill 1336. Leach is a certified public accountant who is pushing for truth and transparency in the amount of money our state spends each year on mandated STAAR testing. He’s not just talking about how much money we pay Education Testing Service — $280 million over...
Adler: Initial draft of CodeNext map could bring Austin together

Adler: Initial draft of CodeNext map could bring Austin together

This is a big week for Austin — and I’m officially declaring Tuesday as Austin Everybody Chill Out Day. Though any day is a good day to take a deep breath, relax and focus on the task ahead, it’s especially salient for us on Tuesday because that’s the day we all get our first look at the initial draft of the CodeNext map. The map will be the first round of applying new zoning...
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...

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...
Why are the Beatles still so beloved? Author examines Fab Four’s fame

Why are the Beatles still so beloved? Author examines Fab Four’s fame

Recommended reading “Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World” by Rob Sheffield (Dey Books). You may, for good reason, have been under the impression that what the world doesn’t need now is yet another book about the Beatles. Even the narrowest search on Amazon.com search yields more than 3,000 hits, including several under Parenting & Relationships and...
Looking for a good book? See what’s on the best-seller list

Looking for a good book? See what’s on the best-seller list

NEW YORK TIMES BEST-SELLERS FICTION 1. ‘The Black Book,’ James Patterson and David Ellis 2. ‘Thrawn,’ Timothy Zahn 3. ‘All by Myself, Alone,’ Mary Higgins Clark 4. ‘One Perfect Lie,’ Lisa Scottoline 5. ‘The Burial Hour,’ Jeffery Deaver 6. ‘Two from the Heart,’ James Patterson and Frank Constantini 7. ‘Norse Mythology,&rsquo...
Facebook comments: April 23, 2017

Facebook comments: April 23, 2017

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Thomas Jones, home-school athletes are a step closer to being allowed to compete in UIL-sanctioned event. Senate Bill 640, which would end a longtime ban on the athletes, was approved by the Texas Senate and will now move on the House for consideration. The measure has been dubbed the Tim Tebow bill in recognition of the former Heisman Trophy winner at...

Opinion: Turns out Alex Jones was only pretending to be a madman

So it turns out Alex Jones was only kidding. That time the radio host and ringmaster of the “Infowars” website said the government brought Ebola into the country to terrorize us? That time he said a Beyonce video was created to start a new civil war, that time he wished gang rape on Jennifer Lopez, those times he suggested the Oklahoma City bombing, the Sept. 11 attacks and the bombing...
Books to read: A struggling town, a walking guide and a legend’s story

Books to read: A struggling town, a walking guide and a legend’s story

A Midwestern town struggles to survive in the aftermath of an economic disaster in “Janesville: An American Story” by Amy Goldstein. Based on three years of probing interviews, Pulitzer Prize–winning Washington Post journalist Goldstein makes her literary debut with an engrossing investigation of Janesville, Wisconsin, where General Motors, the town’s major employer, closed...

Opinion: The battle against sex trafficking of minors

PHOENIX — Three months ago, State Trooper Jonathan Otto, 33, of the Arizona Department of Public Safety pulled over a car that had caught his attention by traveling 104 miles per hour long after midnight, just south of Kingman. He smelled marijuana in the car. It was driven by a man with an adult female wearing only lingerie. Their passenger was a female juvenile whose fake document showed her...

Krauthammer: With North Korea, we do have cards to play

Given that Pyongyang has had nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles for more than a decade, why the panic now? Because North Korea is headed for a nuclear breakout. The regime has openly declared that it is racing to develop an intercontinental ballistic missile that can reach the United States — and thus destroy an American city at a Kim Jong Un push of a button. The North Koreans are not bluffing...

Collins: Paging the Trump Armada

Let’s consider the case of the wrong-way warships. Last week, North Korea was planning a big celebration in honor of its founder’s birthday. For North Koreans, holiday fun is short on barbecues and high on weaponry. The big parade in Pyongyang featured monster canisters that theoretically contained intercontinental ballistic missiles. It’s possible they were actually empty and that...

COMMENTARY: No, Trump can’t just do what he wants

Two issues are paramount in American politics. The first is whether President Trump will get away with his arrogant dismissal of the public’s right to a transparent government free of corrupting conflicts of interest. The second is whether those who would hold him to account remain focused, mobilized and determined. They are related. There are many reasons to stand against Trump, but the one...

Opinion: War cries drown out ‘America First’

“Why would I call China a currency manipulator when they are working with us on the North Korean problem?” tweeted President Donald Trump on Easter Sunday. Earlier, after discovering “great chemistry” with Chinese President Xi Jinping over “the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake” at Mar-a-Lago, Trump had confided, “I explained … that a trade deal...

Opinion: How to stand up to Trump and win

After President Donald Trump’s election, a wave of furious opposition erupted. It was an emotional mix of denial and anger, the first two stages of grief, and it wasn’t very effective. Yet increasingly that has matured into thoughtful efforts to channel the passion into a movement organized toward results. One example: the wave of phone calls to congressional offices that torpedoed the...

A professor who stresses learning, ideas, not liberal politics

Reading through a recent issue of Forbes, I came across a wonderful quote from inventor R. Buckminster Fuller. He observed: “You cannot change things by fighting existing reality: To change things you must build a new model to make the existing model obsolete.” I saw that truth during a recent speaking engagement at the University of California, Berkeley. I have been speaking on university...
Letters to the editor: April 19, 2017

Letters to the editor: April 19, 2017

Re: April 12 article,“Senate OKs letting clerks deny same-sex marriage licenses.” The Legislature just can’t seem to find harmony between religion and sex. Last time I checked, we still operate as a nation based on the separation of church and state. It gets messy fast when the two collide. Case in point is religious beliefs that conflict with the law. County clerks aren’t...
Texas sheriffs: SB4 burdens law enforcement, local taxpayers

Texas sheriffs: SB4 burdens law enforcement, local taxpayers

We believe locally elected sheriffs know the needs of their communities better than state and national leaders who are currently trying to tie our hands. Our communities each have unique public safety and law enforcement needs that should not be undermined by state, unfunded mandates as authored in Senate Bill 4. If passed, SB 4 would coerce local law enforcement to dedicate frequently scarce resources...
More Opinion Stories