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Opinion


Commentary: Pipeline, Standing Rock conflict is all about power

The recent decision by President Barack Obama’s administration, via the Army Corps of Engineers, to ask for a more in-depth environmental impact statement regarding a final section of the Dakota Access oil pipeline represents a clash of power. The simple story is one of environmental and health concerns, but in reality the full story is much more. It is a continuation of the populist...
Herman: Commemorating Pearl Harbor day with George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole

Herman: Commemorating Pearl Harbor day with George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole

I went to College Station on Wednesday to see two old men. Both were in wheelchairs. One is 92, enjoys fancy socks and, at this point late in his life of service and sacrifice, continues to emphasize the positive. The other man is 93, and, also having led a life of service and sacrifice, now is a foreign agent, in the headlines this week for representing a country with whom we have a complicated relationship...
Lumping all pensions together is dangerous

Lumping all pensions together is dangerous

Dealing in absolutes is risky business, and it’s downright irresponsible when you’re advocating for sweeping change to the retirement plans of hundreds of thousands of Texans. In the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s latest broad portrait of public employee pensions, James Quintero handpicks one global statistic and attributes it to “some of the biggest public retirement systems...
Apodaca: Does our jury system serve us well?

Apodaca: Does our jury system serve us well?

In watching a recent TV series, “The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story,” I relived the mid-1990s trial and the shock felt throughout the world when a jury of Simpson’s peers, mostly black, found him not guilty of murder. When announced, the verdict had a negative impact on the public’s faith in our jury system; many believed that the evidence of Simpson&rsquo...
Letters to the Editor: December 8, 2016

Letters to the Editor: December 8, 2016

Re: Nov. 29 article, Last month at our local town hall meeting, Rep. Jason Isaac discussed the time he met one-on-one with the parent of an epileptic child who needed access to medical marijuana and how this meeting helped change his mind about our current marijuana laws in Texas. Isaac said he was a good representative because he listened to and learned from one of his constituents. But has he met...
Young: Flotsam from the Trump thought stream

Young: Flotsam from the Trump thought stream

The early projection: Donald Trump is the end of satire. Not that as president he would ban it, although in his fantasies he shuts down “Saturday Night Live.” It’s that based on his early proclivities, Trump is beyond lampooning. Whatever scene a humorist might conjure, he lives it. He is his own work of fiction. Presidential? Oh my! With smartphone in hand, he is a...
Herman: Texas Electoral College member won’t vote for Donald Trump

Herman: Texas Electoral College member won’t vote for Donald Trump

So Sisneros will not be the first Texan to get that label. It looks as if Dallas paramedic Christopher Suprun will be. Suprun announced and defended his decision in a New York Times op-ed published Monday. And his reasoning is solid, though challenging to the very notion of what an Electoral College member is supposed to do. Suprun wrote that he, like most of the 538 Electoral College...
Hunter: Mattis is one of Trump’s better choices for defense secretary

Hunter: Mattis is one of Trump’s better choices for defense secretary

Donald Trump described his first meeting with Gen. James Mattis a week ago: “I said, what do you think of waterboarding?’ (Mattis) said — I was surprised — he said, ‘I’ve never found it to be useful.’” “He said, ‘I’ve always found, give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers and I do better with that than I do with...
Jensen: How I got listed as professor with a radical agenda

Jensen: How I got listed as professor with a radical agenda

From a “ That quote is supposedly “evidence” for why I am one of those college professors who, according to the watchlist’s This rather thin accusation appears to flow from my published work instead of an evaluation of my teaching. So, I’ll help out the watchlist and describe how I address these issues at the University of Texas, where I’m finishing...
Bill Hammond: Texas need more advanced practice nurses

Bill Hammond: Texas need more advanced practice nurses

Each day thousands of Texas patients see their health care provider for services ranging from treating the common cold to delivering a new baby to geriatric care to mental health services. And for more and more Texans, it is highly trained and specialized nurses who provide this level of personalized care. Advanced practice nurses (or APRNs) perform many of the same duties as a physician...
Commentary: Syringe service programs could save lives in Texas

Commentary: Syringe service programs could save lives in Texas

A recently released Surgeon General’s report, “Facing Addiction in America,” paints an alarming picture of substance abuse in the United States. The yearly cost to society is estimated at almost $250 billion. In addition to the huge economic cost, there is a human cost. Communities are suffering with increased crime and violence and child neglect and abuse. Alarmingly...
Serafine: Legislators should certify psychologists, not license them

Serafine: Legislators should certify psychologists, not license them

The Sunset Commission will hear testimony on Dec. 7-8 about whether Texas laws for licensing psychologists can be made to be constitutional. Given the first draft of the commission staff report, it seems more likely the Legislature will be led down the path of never-ending litigation in contravention of our basic American right to free speech. They should consider certification instead. In January...
Commentary: After-school programs are vital for Austin’s children

Commentary: After-school programs are vital for Austin’s children

Each weekday afternoon in Texas, about 935,000 children are alone and unsupervised. Once the final school bell rings, they’re excused from school, and then … well, what they do then depends. No doubt some do homework peacefully and constructively, and some probably just play video games or watch television. But some engage in destructive behaviors with alcohol and drugs...
Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Trump

Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Trump

Donald Trump won the Electoral College — though not the popular vote — on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University. Yes, the...
Phillips: Endorsements by officeholders threaten political diplomacy

Phillips: Endorsements by officeholders threaten political diplomacy

Most often in Austin and Travis County, elected officials stay in their political lanes when it comes to making endorsements. You don’t often see, for instance, a Travis County elected official endorsing in his or her party’s state house primary. If they have preferences, they usually are expressed out of public view. And the same is true in nonpartisan elections, so it’s not typical...
Commentary: Pearl Harbor a reminder that U.S. should lead, not follow

Commentary: Pearl Harbor a reminder that U.S. should lead, not follow

As we remember and mourn Imperial Japan’s surprise attack on the American military installations at Pearl Harbor 75 years ago, we should also remember that was not just one of the bloodiest strikes on American soil. Pearl Harbor also marked “an end to illusions,” as the theologian Reinhold Niebuhr described the United States’ sudden mindfulness of the threat posed...
Herman: Texas Electoral College member won’t vote for Donald Trump

Herman: Texas Electoral College member won’t vote for Donald Trump

I told you last week So Sisneros will not be the first Texan to get that label. It looks as if Dallas paramedic Christopher Suprun will be. Suprun announced and defended his decision in a New York Times op-ed published Monday. And his reasoning is solid, though challenging to the very notion of what an Electoral College member is supposed to do. Suprun wrote that he, like most of the 538 Electoral...
Herman: Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller Yelps his steak complaint

Herman: Texas Ag Commissioner Sid Miller Yelps his steak complaint

Kendra P. of Amarillo couldn’t have been more gushing in her Yelp review of OHMS Café, a downtown Amarillo bistro. “My boyfriend and I went here a while ago for a date,” she posted. “It was by far some of the most delicious food I’ve ever tasted. We split the crème brulee for dessert, and I think I saw angels.” Nice. I’m happy for Kendra P. and...
Serafine: Legislators should certify psychologists, not license them

Serafine: Legislators should certify psychologists, not license them

The Sunset Commission will hear testimony today about whether Texas laws for licensing psychologists can be made to be constitutional. Given the first draft of the commission staff report, it seems more likely the Legislature will be led down the path of never-ending litigation in contravention of our basic American right to free speech. They should consider certification instead. In January, the...
Commentary: After-school programs are vital for Austin’s children

Commentary: After-school programs are vital for Austin’s children

Each weekday afternoon in Texas, about 935,000 children are alone and unsupervised. Once the final school bell rings, they’re excused from school, and then … well, what they do then depends. No doubt some do homework peacefully and constructively, and some probably just play video games or watch television. But some engage in destructive behaviors with alcohol and drugs...
Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Trump

Paul Krugman: Seduced and betrayed by Trump

Donald Trump won the Electoral College — though not the popular vote — on the strength of overwhelming support from working-class whites, who feel left behind by a changing economy and society. And they’re about to get their reward — the same reward that, throughout Trump’s career, has come to everyone who trusted his good intentions. Think Trump University. Yes, the...
Letters to the Editor: December 6, 2016

Letters to the Editor: December 6, 2016

Re: Nov. 30 articles, “ The subject of two articles in this morning’s paper got my attention: workers demanding $15 hourly wages because they cannot live on less and a bill concerning property taxes. I am a retired individual and I live on a $4.63 hourly wage. I have a reverse mortgage on my house to lower my expenses but still must pay my taxes and homeowners insurance. Since I retired...
Commentary: Syringe service programs could save lives in Texas

Commentary: Syringe service programs could save lives in Texas

A recently released Surgeon General’s report, “Facing Addiction in America,” paints an alarming picture of substance abuse in the United States. The yearly cost to society is estimated at almost $250 billion. In addition to the huge economic cost, there is a human cost. Communities are suffering with increased crime and violence and child neglect and abuse. Alarmingly...
Letters to the Editor: December 5, 2016

Letters to the Editor: December 5, 2016

Re: Nov. 23 article, “Cops: Chattanooga bus speeding before crash.” It is my belief that we will see and hear much more incidents like the recent Tennessee school bus accident as long as more states legalize recreational and medicinal marijuana use. It is very obvious that the use of alcohol or marijuana will hinder man’s ability to function safely when operating a motor vehicle...
Commentary: Trump, GOP should go ‘nuclear’ on Obamacare repeal

Commentary: Trump, GOP should go ‘nuclear’ on Obamacare repeal

Republicans are about to control the House of Representatives, Senate and presidency — and they say they’re not planning on wasting this historic opportunity to promote conservative policies and reforms, especially when it comes to health care. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said on the day after the Republicans’ historic election that repealing and...
Jacqueline Angel: The nation’s health is under attack

Jacqueline Angel: The nation’s health is under attack

It is well understood that the economy of a country becomes more robust as the health and well-being of its citizens improves. It is also clear that improving the health of a nation’s citizens can directly result in economic growth, partly because more people are more productive in the labor force. But word that President-elect Donald Trump wants to cut or modify the Affordable...
Herman: Fireworks for Groundhog Day and scores of other holidays

Herman: Fireworks for Groundhog Day and scores of other holidays

I recently told you Those last three were added to the list by the 2015 Legislature. And Cinco de Mayo sales are allowed, with county approval, within 100 miles of the Texas-Mexico border. When it comes to fireworks, Cinco de Mayo apparently is a regional holiday. And here’s hoping the Cinco de Mayo fireworks are fired high enough to be seen and enjoyed on the other side of the wall. Be that...
Rigby: Trojan horse law an assault on Texas women

Rigby: Trojan horse law an assault on Texas women

Every year Texas women must endure a stampede of Trojan horse laws and regulations assaulting their constitutional right to an abortion. More are on the way. A “Trojan horse” in Greek literature was a trap disguised as a gift. In this case, the trap is a regulation that purports to be about protecting the public’s health, but is really about disguising yet another indignity...
Are Trump’s cabinet selections a hint about how he’ll lead? Absolutely.

Are Trump’s cabinet selections a hint about how he’ll lead? Absolutely.

If it is true that actions speak louder than words, then Americans are now finally getting a glimpse of what President-elect Donald Trump will deliver as he brings his administration together. There is cause to be wary. Words matter, especially when they are spoken by the next leader of the free world. But more than Trump’s remarks on Twitter Though time will show if Trump means what he says...
Letters to the editor: Dec. 3, 2016

Letters to the editor: Dec. 3, 2016

I had questions about the Electoral College concept until I saw the election map. Most of the blue states were in the West Coast and the Northeast. It was then that I realized that if we went with the popular vote, California and New York would determine who our president would be. Why should those two states speak for the entire country? CAROLENE QUICK, AUSTIN Hillary Clinton has so far gathered...
Charen: Fidel Castro’s 60 years of fake news

Charen: Fidel Castro’s 60 years of fake news

A panic is sweeping the land — or at least something like it has unnerved CNN, Vox and other precincts of progressive sensibility. They are alarmed that millions of Americans are being misled by “fake news.” As someone whose inbox has lately bulged with items about Hillary Clinton’s impending demise due to a concealed, terminal illness; who has shaken her head...
Letters to the Editor: December 2, 2016

Letters to the Editor: December 2, 2016

In the 2008 election, when health care reform was one of the main issues debated, Barack Obama won the presidency with a Democratic House and a filibuster-proof Democratic Senate. Did the same people who now say that Donald Trump has a mandate to repeal the Affordable Care Act go along with the mandate that Obama was given? Hardly. Republicans opposed his every move, and in the end not one Republican...
Workman: The future of water in Texas

Workman: The future of water in Texas

During the recent drought, my office heard constantly from people concerned about the lack of water in our lakes. But now that the lakes are full and people are enjoying their boats and beautiful sunsets, a lot of people seem to be under the impression that we are out of the woods. I don’t think we are. There is no doubt we have been given a reprieve, but there is no way to know...
Emergency room ‘surprise bills’ hurt patients, need policy solution

Emergency room ‘surprise bills’ hurt patients, need policy solution

The rapidly rising costs of insurance premiums emerged as a dominant focus after the presidential election. However, there is another major problem in the health care financing infrastructure that does not seem to get enough policy discussion: “surprise bills” sent directly to patients following care by physicians who may be working at an in-network facility but who are not...
James Quintero: Texas’ $61 billion pension problem

James Quintero: Texas’ $61 billion pension problem

Texas’ public employees deserve a safe and secure retirement, but many are instead faced with uncertainty as some of the state’s biggest public retirement systems deal with problems brought on by years of habitual overpromising and underfunding. This issue and those affected by it are increasingly at the forefront of Texas politics as more and deeply troubling information...
Dave McNeely: Redistricting and gridlock

Dave McNeely: Redistricting and gridlock

Legislative redistricting may seem like a strange concentration for someone leaving the White House. But President Barack Obama plans to make altering that process a big part of his life after the presidency. “I think we’ve got to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters and not the other way around,” Obama said...
Simmons: Texas, it’s time to end straight-ticket voting

Simmons: Texas, it’s time to end straight-ticket voting

Much has been made of the personalities and deficiencies of the candidates at the top of the ticket this November. However, far less attention was paid to the actual issues each candidate believed in — much less the issues that separated candidates toward the bottom of the ballot. Straight-party-ticket voting allows voters to check one box and have the entire ballot completed for...
Herman: Zimmerman wants new invocation system for council meetings

Herman: Zimmerman wants new invocation system for council meetings

In a proposal with little prayer of winning approval before he leaves office, Austin City Council Member Don Zimmerman — burned up about the invitation to a Satanic leader to give the invocation at Thursday’s council meeting — wants to change the way folks are selected to offer the inspirational words that kick off council sessions. Under the current system, the city staff extends...
Alter: Austin needs strong local leadership in uncertain times

Alter: Austin needs strong local leadership in uncertain times

Like most American cities, Austin has at times perpetuated inequality and hate. In our best moments, local officials have shown courage in defending our values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance. Austin needs leadership of that kind today — more than ever before. We have some inspiring historical precedents. The peaceful desegregation of Lions Municipal Golf Course in advance...
Hale: Fidel Castro’s legacy brought hope for Cuba. Now what?

Hale: Fidel Castro’s legacy brought hope for Cuba. Now what?

Reactions to Fidel Castro’s death at age 90 strike a depressingly familiar tone. Some celebrate while others mourn. These two responses may not be evenly divided in the U.S., but they certainly would be if we polled the hemisphere. Castro’s passing dramatizes what we have known for some time: Cuba stands at the brink of change, now apt to accelerate and, with a Donald Trump...
Cherwitz: Dear Mr. Trump — break your silence and denounce prejudice

Cherwitz: Dear Mr. Trump — break your silence and denounce prejudice

Dear President-elect Trump: I am a professor at the University of Texas, one of America’s major research institutions. My field of study is rhetoric, a discipline dating back to ancient Greece that studies persuasion. In particular I am interested in the impact of one’s language on audiences, regardless of the intent of their discourse. Let me be upfront: I did not vote for...
Letters to the Editor: December 1, 2016

Letters to the Editor: December 1, 2016

“Trump is chief topic for Obama, world leaders” related that President “Obama has offered frequent reassurances that the U.S. won’t renege on its commitments.” The U.S. is the binding force for the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. For over a decade we provided one-third of the funding, equivalent to our economic position. This encourages other countries...

Krauthammer: Tweets and theater entertain, but Congress is main event

The most amusing part of the Trump transition has been watching its effortless confounding of the media, often in fewer than 140 characters. One morning, after a Fox News report on lefty nuttiness at some obscure New England college — a flag burning that led a more-contemptible-than-usual campus administration to take down the school’s own American flag — Donald Trump tweets that...

Collins: Trump warms up

What do you think the theme for Donald Trump’s appointments has been so far? Generals, generals, generals? Climate change deniers, climate change deniers? Those seem to be the leading contenders, although there’s always the ever-popular When I want to be cheered up, I always think about Christie, who’s currently lobbying for head of the Republican National Committee. (Next week...

Is Trump calling out Xi Jinping?

Like a bolt of lightning, that call of congratulations from Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen to President-elect Donald Trump illuminated the Asian landscape. We can see clearly now the profit and loss statement from more than three decades of accommodating and appeasing China, since Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger made their historic journey in 1972. What are the gains and losses? Soon after Nixon...

The disempowered majority, and time for a change

Starting next month, the United States will have a minority government. This assertion flies in the face of just about everything you have read, since the Republicans will control the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives. But the American system of representation, invented 229 years ago for 13 states that hugged the Atlantic shore, is more than ever out of tune with how the country&rsquo...

This holiday season, think of gifts with meaning

Sure, you can buy your uncle a necktie that he won’t wear, or your niece an Amazon certificate that she’ll forget to use. Or you can help remove shrapnel from an injured child in Syria, or assist students at risk of genocide in South Sudan. The major aid organizations have special catalogs this time of year: You can buy an alpaca for a family for $150 at Heifer International, help educate...

Democrats: Skip the civil war

Democrats are in danger of moving from complacency to panic. Neither is particularly helpful. The complacency part is obvious: Until about 9 p.m. on Nov. 8, supporters of Hillary Clinton (myself included) were certain that Donald Trump’s weaknesses among women, nonwhite voters, and younger Americans would prevent him from becoming president. This analysis was half-right: Trump lost the popular...

What to do about mothers in prison

TULSA, Okla. — The women’s wing of the jail exhales sadness. The inmates, wearing identical orange uniforms, ache as they undergo withdrawal from drugs, as they eye one another suspiciously, and as they while away the days stripped of freedom, dignity, privacy and, most painful of all, their children. Of all America’s various policy missteps in my lifetime, perhaps the most catastrophic...
Commentary: Quality of product is as important as how it is marketed

Commentary: Quality of product is as important as how it is marketed

In his recently published column, “ In the early years of the 20th century, thanks principally to Teddy Roosevelt, Republicans were the progressives and Democrats, which owned the south politically, were state’s rights conservatives. LBJ’s aggressive sponsorship of the 1965 Civil Rights Act instantaneously flipped this 180 degrees. Over the past century, every consequential...
Commentary: GOP must be smart on how to roll back federal regulations

Commentary: GOP must be smart on how to roll back federal regulations

It seems clear that in the coming years of Republican control many federal regulatory protections will be rolled back. No doubt some Americans voted for Donald Trump because of his broad, nonspecific campaign promises to relieve companies of the burden of complying with federal regulations. But his supporters may be in for a surprise. Take, for example, the April 17, 2013, fire at the...
Jesse Jackson: Paradoxes of Castro cannot be reduced to black, white

Jesse Jackson: Paradoxes of Castro cannot be reduced to black, white

Fidel Castro, Cuba’s leader for almost six decades, died at 90 in Havana. USA Today’s headline on Monday read, “No Mourning in Miami,” noting the continued bitterness of those who left Cuba. The Washington Post featured testimonies condemning Castro’s authoritarian government. A revolutionary, a brutal dictator who sided with the USSR in the Cold War, a...
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