Opinion


Herman: The curse of constant free Wi-Fi

Some footnotes to my recent first trip to Israel. So interesting. Go. Now. Don’t wait as long as my family did. Postponing the trip until there is enduring peace in the Middle East might mean never making the trip. And don’t miss a day trip, or more, to Petra in Jordan. Look it up. Unbelievable. Once I got over any consternation caused by being a Jew in Jordan, I realized there was nothing...


Young: It’s so much like Watergate, and so much worse

Young: It’s so much like Watergate, and so much worse

“During the past year the wildest accusations have been given banner headlines and ready credence as well.” — Richard Nixon, 1974. “The Fake News is working overtime.” — Donald Trump, 2018. Mr. President, we now have indictments that would link the Russian government — not the fat person you imagined on a bed somewhere — to an attack on our election...
Editorial: Mr. President, you failed to stand up for America

Editorial: Mr. President, you failed to stand up for America

No, it wasn’t a slip of the tongue. The problem wasn’t that President Donald Trump said “would” instead of “wouldn’t” during his Monday news conference alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin, as he weighed the U.S. intelligence agencies’ evidence of Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election against Putin’s “extremely strong and...
ANALYSIS: Can we impeach Trump? 5 things to know about the process

ANALYSIS: Can we impeach Trump? 5 things to know about the process

Removing a president from office is a two-step process. The first step is impeachment. That’s when members of the House indict, or charge, an official with an impeachable offense. Impeachment does not remove the president from office. That only happens if a second step is taken and the president is convicted of the alleged crimes. Jacob Neiheisel, an assistant professor at the University at...
Why Criner has all-white jury in UT murder case, and not a jury of his peers

Why Criner has all-white jury in UT murder case, and not a jury of his peers

  Potential jurors are sworn in before jury selection in the capital murder case of Meechaiel Criner, the transient man accused of killing University of Texas student Haruka Weiser in April 2016, in District Judge David Wahlberg’s 167th district court Monday July 9, 2018. RALPH BARRERA / AMERICAN-STATESMAN Travis County prosecutor Ricky Jones...
Commentary: Trump’s words and actions caused a constitutional crisis

Commentary: Trump’s words and actions caused a constitutional crisis

President Donald Trump’s news conference in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin opened a new constitutional crisis. Trump’s statements jeopardize the territorial security of the United States and civilian control over American military and law enforcement agencies. Trump pits the White House against the rest of our government. The cost to our country will be grave, because we...
Commentary: Let’s collaborate to improve our community’s mental health

Commentary: Let’s collaborate to improve our community’s mental health

Every day, over 150 people move to the Austin area. Like all Americans, 1 in 5 Austinites will experience a mental health issue in their lifetime. Strengthening the health of our growing community and supporting individuals living with mental illness requires collaboration and continuous innovation. Integral Care, Travis County’s local mental health authority, Dell Medical School at the University...
Opinion: Trump composes an elaborate “Thank you, Putin” note

Opinion: Trump composes an elaborate “Thank you, Putin” note

In the run-up to the Trump-Putin summit, many wondered how the Mueller investigation’s latest indictment would impact the outcome. After all, the language of the indictment was very specific and very detailed. Russian intelligence officers were mentioned by name. More to the point, the indictment revealed that Russian hackers were inside the computer systems of the Democratic National Committee...
INSIGHT: Vaccine skeptics say they know what’s best. Even for dogs

INSIGHT: Vaccine skeptics say they know what’s best. Even for dogs

One of the most contentious areas of health policy over the past two decades has been the safety of vaccination. Vaccines prevent the outbreak of diseases that used to be widespread, like polio, and scientific consensus strongly supports their safety. Yet many Americans refuse or delay the vaccination of their children out of fear that it could lead to autism, even though scientific consensus refutes...
Phillips: Local newspapers help taxpayers as watchdogs on government

Phillips: Local newspapers help taxpayers as watchdogs on government

Daily newspapers long have been the barking – and oftentimes biting – watchdogs that keep the public informed about what their government is doing, be that rescuing people from massive flooding in Austin in 2015, or the mismanagement of $2 billion in contracts by the Texas Health and Human Services Commission, which came to light that same year. This week, the American-Statesman reported...
Grumet: Did Austinites really buy into the city’s plastic bag ban?

Grumet: Did Austinites really buy into the city’s plastic bag ban?

While H-E-B and other retailers consider whether to bring back disposable plastic bags, I’ve heard some interesting discussions about how much Austinites actually supported the city’s recently nullified plastic bag ban. That’s because plastic bags didn’t entirely go away. Remember, Austin’s ordinance only barred stores from providing those...
Editorial: Texas must do more to end suspensions of youngest students

Editorial: Texas must do more to end suspensions of youngest students

Just two years ago, Austin schools issued 321 suspensions to the district’s youngest students, those in prekindergarten through second grade, sometimes over infractions as small as using rude language or leaving the classroom without permission. Those numbers included 288 out-of-school suspensions and 33 in-school suspensions. This year, Austin had just eight out-of-school suspensions for that...
Commentary: Even before family separations, Trump was cultivating hate

Commentary: Even before family separations, Trump was cultivating hate

You never blame the victim of a crime. Despite the occasional rulings of rogue judges and the bizarre utterances of lawmakers and candidates emboldened by what they hear on talk radio or see on cable TV, it’s pretty much accepted in public discourse that a woman is not to blame for her rape because her skirt was too short or she had too much to drink. A homeowner is not to blame for a theft...
Commentary: Why we cannot take the 14th Amendment for granted

Commentary: Why we cannot take the 14th Amendment for granted

Few times in recent memory have demanded a more careful examination of our nation’s history than now — the year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment’s passage. At a time when the Trump administration is throwing asylum seekers in jail without due process, and undermining efforts to desegregate schools, it is critical to remember that the “pervading purpose&rdquo...
Commentary: No one’s light on the brisket, yet. Keep weighing barbecue

Commentary: No one’s light on the brisket, yet. Keep weighing barbecue

For centuries, people have cheated in commerce. In response, society has created systems that enable fair trade for all. In Texas, the integrity of that process is the responsibility of the agriculture commissioner. Today, the process is being threatened. The Texas agriculture commissioner, Sid Miller, is standing up to the state attorney general, Ken Paxton, who asserts that state law exempts barbecue...
Commentary: Kids suffer worldwide. So, why are the Thai boys special?

Commentary: Kids suffer worldwide. So, why are the Thai boys special?

Even while the world watches with attention and interest as the Thai soccer team is rescued from a cave, many people wonder why a similar focus is not placed on other suffering children in refugee camps and war zones around the world. It may feel as if the media and public ignore the plight of millions of children to focus on the Thai story. In this country, in the Middle East, in Africa, it&rsquo...
Letters to the editor: July 14, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 14, 2018

Re: July 9 article, “Central Texas suspensions of young students raise concerns.” So, those who advocate banning suspension of misbehaving kids in second grade and under, for most situations, “warned that suspensions caused students to fall behind in their classwork, to be disciplined more in the long run and to be ostracized by their peers.” Someone doesn’t understand...
Letters to the editor: July 13, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 13, 2018

From early New England colonies’ town hall meetings, where most citizens attended to decide what was best for their community, now we locals know what is best for our locality. If our City Council votes support for sanctuary, a Texas Legislature that votes otherwise for our city is just wrong. If a community through its City Council votes to ban plastic bags, that ordinance counts for more than...
Commentary: A lesson in economics, featuring seaports and your stuff

Commentary: A lesson in economics, featuring seaports and your stuff

The next time you’re trying to understand the global economy — the next time that hearing about tariffs and trade deficits makes you want to tune out — just remember that much of the study of economics boils down to just two things: seaports and your stuff. That’s because you use a lot of stuff, and much of that stuff comes from very far away. Just consider the typical American...
INSIGHT: SNAP work requirements could increase deep poverty for some

INSIGHT: SNAP work requirements could increase deep poverty for some

Designed to boost the earnings and job prospects of low-income Americans, proposed work requirements for food stamp recipients could have another unexpected effect: causing deep poverty rates to spike among those who lose their benefits and can’t find work, researchers say. That’s what happened to nearly 1 million single mothers in the years after the 1996 welfare reform legislation imposed...
Herman: Sights and lessons in the Holy Land

Herman: Sights and lessons in the Holy Land

The wonderful thing about world travel is how it can open your eyes to how, despite the differences that make this world so troubled, there are some things that unite much of personkind. I recently enjoyed one of those wonderful moments during my first day in Jerusalem on my first trip to Israel. It came in the back seat of a cab as we headed back to our hotel after touring the building that houses...
Herman: Rural? You only thought you know what that means

Herman: Rural? You only thought you know what that means

As you perchance have noticed, the Texas Legislature did not legislate this year. This is good because it saved us from who knows what. This is bad because we’ll never now what kind of entertainment we missed. By way of reminder, the Texas Legislature meets in regular session only in odd years. Long ago, odd years were deemed the appropriate ones for our lawmakers, even the odd non-odd ones...
Young: Trump has made lying his defining feature

Young: Trump has made lying his defining feature

“Nice guy; good-looking guy (Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau) comes in (and says), ‘Donald, we have no trade deficit.’ I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know … I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.’” So said our president to a private fund-raiser. Someone with a tape recorder shared it. What is most serious...
Commentary: How ‘zero tolerance’ can do more harm in some situations

Commentary: How ‘zero tolerance’ can do more harm in some situations

During my second year of teaching at my current high school, the assistant principal supervising me stepped into my classroom for an unannounced observation. My students were reading an essay I brought in to introduce a new unit. It was a good text, high-level and high-interest — and most of the kids were annotating diligently. After a few minutes, though, I heard a quiet laugh from a table...
Phillips: Make sure police body cameras don’t fail in critical events

Phillips: Make sure police body cameras don’t fail in critical events

The video of an Austin police officer punching a man in the face as he lay restrained on the ground is disturbing. One officer grabs the man’s arms, while another officer sits on his legs, delivering a series of hard blows to a seemingly defenseless suspect. A third person who is not an officer helps restrain the shirtless man. No wonder the 50-second video by a bystander went viral. Both officers...
Letters to the editor: July 11, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 11, 2018

Unfortunately, many Americans abhor our president, who is perceived as not caring about anything other than himself. Now is his final chance to “Make America Great Again.” He can do this simply by nominating a moderate Republican judge or a truly high-quality, middle-of-the-road and highly respected justice to fill the open slot on the Supreme Court. This would show that he truly wants...
Sorry, city employees. Your second job is our business.

Sorry, city employees. Your second job is our business.

I hate to say it, but if you’re a stickler for privacy, a government job isn’t for you. For starters, your salary is a matter of public record. In fact, most people could find it with just a few keystrokes if you’re among the hundreds of thousands of public employees in the Texas Tribune’s Government Salaries Explorer...
Officer’s use of force in question without body camera evidence

Officer’s use of force in question without body camera evidence

A man pictured in a viral video being punched by an Austin police officer early Wednesday was armed with a knife and threatening staff at a downtown bar, according to court documents. Justin Grant, 23, was charged with drug possession, resisting arrest and making a terroristic threat and was booked into the Travis County Jail after a clash with police outside...
Commentary: Cities should end their assault on liberty and rule of law

Commentary: Cities should end their assault on liberty and rule of law

Independence and defiance are Texas traditions. After all, one of the most famous statements our Founding Father Sam Houston ever made was that “Texas has yet to learn submission to any oppression, come from what source it may.” It’s unsurprising that independence and resolution are greatly valued in a state born from a group of poorly armed and inadequately trained civilians who...
Editorial: If Texas won’t give sick leave, at least let Austin do it

Editorial: If Texas won’t give sick leave, at least let Austin do it

Austin workers no longer will have to choose between going to work sick or staying home without pay when a child or family member is ill because starting Oct. 1 all but the smallest employers in the city will have to offer paid sick leave to workers. That is good policy that protects the public’s health and puts meaning to Republican rhetoric about family values. The Legislature’s unwillingness...
Castillo: Our immigration laws have been splitting families for years

Castillo: Our immigration laws have been splitting families for years

An editor once told me I was blessed to have lifetime job security because my work included reporting on immigration. “That issue will never get solved, so you’ll always have something to write about,” he explained. That was about the time I met Courtney Garcia, a 22-year-old Austin woman with a heartbreaking personal story about immigration and separation. An obscure immigration...
Commentary: Why East Austin should have its own school district

Commentary: Why East Austin should have its own school district

Along with many of our colleagues and student parents, we believe the time has come to split off East Austin from Austin ISD to form its own school district, Capitol ISD. We already have two de facto districts divided by Interstate 35, Austin’s historical demarcation of segregation. We should legally separate them — to the benefit of both. There also are sound financial reasons for this...
Commentary: Why Texans can’t sue faith-based schools that hurt kids

Commentary: Why Texans can’t sue faith-based schools that hurt kids

The Texas Supreme Court recently made a decision that could adversely affect the lives of thousands of children across the state. In the case of John Doe v. Episcopal School of Dallas, the justices refused to consider a harmful ruling issued by a lower appellate court. The ruling allows a faith-based school to avoid civil liability for harming a child in its care. In other words, Texas parents may...
Letters to the editor: July 8, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 8, 2018

Re: June 30 commentary, “How paid sick leave ordinance will hurt Texas economy.” I had to laugh when I read Sen. Donna Campbell’s column. Campbell states: “It is not the role of government to involve itself in the day-to-day operations of private businesses.” Where was that hands-off policy when bathroom use was the topic? Campbell was right on the front line of that...
Herman: Doggett unmoved by Supreme Court decision to move into his district

Herman: Doggett unmoved by Supreme Court decision to move into his district

Thanks to a recent ruling by the federal court that reigns supreme, it’s time once again to check in with longtime U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, to see if he plans on voting for himself this year, something he hasn’t done in many years. This has to do with the fact that Doggett, an East Austin resident, doesn’t live in the district he represents in the U.S. House....
Commentary: Now it’s safe to bet that Mexico won’t pay for Trump’s wall

Commentary: Now it’s safe to bet that Mexico won’t pay for Trump’s wall

Now, for sure Mexico won’t be paying for the southern border wall that President Donald Trump promised to his millions of supporters. Not that Mexico ever intended to pay. President Enrique Peña Nieto made that clear to Trump, much to the American president’s dismay. And on Sunday night – after exit polls and the first election results showed that former Mexico City Mayor...
Editorial: We must embrace our patriotic duty to speak out

Editorial: We must embrace our patriotic duty to speak out

Benjamin Franklin famously told a group of citizens that America’s fledgling experiment in self-governance was “a republic, if you can keep it.” That charge from more than two centuries ago bears urgent resonance in today’s climate of rigid partisanship, withering civility and complex problems that want for serious, principled discussion. Tomorrow, we celebrate the Fourth of...
Commentary: Red Hen incident shows we all need a seat at the table

Commentary: Red Hen incident shows we all need a seat at the table

I keep thinking I’ll get used to Donald J. Trump as president, but each morning I wake up, as in the movie “Groundhog Day,” and relive the shock. From my Twitter feed and talk with friends, I know I’m not alone, and the bombshell of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement just knocked me down again. What can we do? At least I know what not to do. The election of Trump may...
Commentary: Why merging the labor and education departments is a scam

Commentary: Why merging the labor and education departments is a scam

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney described the plan to merge the Departments of Education and Labor as a way to modernize federal bureaucracy: “We’re still dealing with a government that is from the early 20th century.” At first glance, it may seem like a good idea to eliminate bureaucratic bloat. After all, every administration promotes efforts to eliminate...
Grumet: How Waller Creek tax dollars could help the homeless

Grumet: How Waller Creek tax dollars could help the homeless

The artistic renderings for the chain of parks planned along Waller Creek airbrush over an uncomfortable fact: The homeless people who currently live on the banks of the waterway are quite literally out of the picture. What will happen to them when this long-neglected creek becomes Austin’s prized urban oasis? When the Austin City Council approved a plan in May to put $110 million...
Herman: How often do you go to San Antonio?

Herman: How often do you go to San Antonio?

Today, with summer travel season upon us, let’s deal with something from a file we’ll call “Is it just me, or … ?” Is it just me or does it seem like Austinites, in general, oddly find little reason to go to San Antonio, a unique and larger city that’s only about 80 miles southwest of here? This notion again crossed my mind during a recent trip to San Antonio for...
Precourt’s MLS stadium proposal faces new, legal hurdles

Precourt’s MLS stadium proposal faces new, legal hurdles

Precourt Sports Ventures wants to build a Major League Soccer stadium on this city-owned tract at McKalla Place. JAY JANNER / American-Statesman Whatever the Austin City Council decides to do in its negotiations regarding a proposal to bring Major League Soccer to Austin, it should check two boxes: Be on firm legal ground with the letter and the spirit of state law...
Castillo: It’s getting harder to be a journalist. But we soldier on

Castillo: It’s getting harder to be a journalist. But we soldier on

Excuse me if I think the president’s tweet about the mass shooting at an Annapolis newspaper rings hollow and useless. “My thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families,” President Trump tweeted shortly after news spread Thursday of the latest mass shooting in America. Another mass shooting. More thoughts and prayers from politicians. “Thoughts and prayers&rdquo...

Opinion: ‘Sort of a double negative’

It is an unfathomable proposition that the day would ever come when America could rightly question the loyalties of its own president, but that is precisely where we have arrived. Donald Trump’s “Surrender Summit” with President Vladimir Putin of Russia was such a disloyal, traitorous display that it boggles the mind. Russia attacked our election in 2016. Russia. Moscow did it to...

Opinion: Trump isn’t first president to cozy up to Putin

WASHINGTON — The definition of insanity is doing the same thing again and again and expecting to get a different result, which is one of the many reasons President Trump’s news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin seemed so insane. Trump is trying to do something that both of his immediate predecessors tried to do: turn over a new leaf with Russia. They both failed, and so...
Facebook comments: July 20, 2018

Facebook comments: July 20, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Bob Sechler, farmers in Texas could be permitted to grow hemp. If a provision in the 2018 farm bill makes it into the final version, states will be able to decide how to regulate the crop. Advocates told a legislative committee Wednesday that if state lawmakers allow it, Texas farmers could become top producers of hemp. It’s a source of fiber for...
Letters to the editor: July 20, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 20, 2018

Re: July 14 article, “Army: Quality of life, tech culture helped Austin land Futures Command.” I’m saddened and outraged to learn that the U.S. Army has selected Austin as home to its new Futures Command center. Perhaps more sickening is hearing U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett say: “Austin fits the mission as a city of innovation — a community that promotes creativity, entrepreneurship...

Opinion: Trump calls off Cold War II

Beginning his joint press conference with Vladimir Putin, President Trump declared that U.S. relations with Russia have “never been worse.” He then added pointedly, that just changed “about four hours ago.” It certainly did. With his remarks in Helsinki and at the NATO summit in Brussels, Trump has signaled a historic shift in U.S. foreign policy that may determine the future...

Opinion: Two cheers for democratic socialists

WASHINGTON — “Socialism has known increments of success, basic failure and massive betrayal. Yet it is more relevant to the humane construction of the twenty-first century than any other idea.” With those words, the late Michael Harrington began his book “Socialism,” published in 1972. In his day, Harrington was often called “America’s leading socialist.&rdquo...
Letters to the editor: July 19, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 19, 2018

Re: July 14 article, “City to hold information session about MLS stadium benefits.” Three times, I had to read over part of the article to make sure I understood it. Are you really telling me that this soccer stadium deal that our “esteemed” City Council is considering will allow them to lease all that McKalla land for a dollar a year — and they won’t have to pay...

Opinion: We may be able to get this man off death row

The horror began with a nighttime home invasion and the stabbings of a white family, and was compounded when sheriff’s deputies arrested and framed a black man for murder. That’s my view, and now after 35 years, the wheels of justice in California may finally be creaking into motion. I last wrote about the case two months ago, and there’s a hopeful development: Gov. Jerry Brown seems...
Letters to the editor: July 17, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 17, 2018

Re: July 12 commentary, “Sorry, city employees. Your second job is our business.” While I agree that an employer has good reason to need to know about other business or employment that may conflict with the duties of a public-sector employee, I disagree that the general public has the right or need to have access to information. Most second jobs are quite innocent, and the employees should...

Opinion: Our rules of the game — U.S. Constitution

Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement, leading to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, has thrown progressives, the Democratic Party and the news media into an out-and-out tizzy. The online magazine Slate declared, “Anthony Kennedy Just Destroyed His Legacy as a Gay Rights Hero.” The New York Times’ editorial board said about a second...
Facebook comments: July 17, 2018

Facebook comments: July 17, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Dave Thomas, a new Make America Great Again hat signed by Donald Trump was sent to the teenager whose hat was taken from him at a San Antonio Whataburger. Hunter Richard, an Orlando teenager, was wearing his hat in a San Antonio Whataburger when a man threw a drink in his face and took his hat. The incident was caught on video, and resulted in the arrest...
Letters to the editor: July 17, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 17, 2018

Re: July 8 commentary, “If Texas won’t give sick leave, at least let Austin do it.” If paid sick leave was really about protecting income of workers, that would be one thing. Instead, the ordinance is about providing anyone who works, whether full- or part-time, paid time off. Should a small business be required to pay a part-time high school student money to miss work whether he...

Opinion: After Kavanaugh, the deluge

In the second year of his presidency, Donald Trump has become more and more willing to act Trumpishly rather than deferring to the official wisdom of his party. But with his second Supreme Court nomination, notwithstanding all the head-fakes and reality-television atmospherics, Trump has demonstrated that he’ll take his Trumpishness only so far. It’s one thing to blow up the G-7 with trade...

Opinion: Documenting my father’s route to becoming an American

On the dining room table before me is a rumpled piece of paper, barely bigger than a sticky note. It is the reason that I exist. The “Alien Head-Tax Receipt” recorded the fare paid by my grandmother at what was then called the Mexican Border District. To me it’s precious, like the companion she had with her that day — my then-infant father — as she crossed from Mexico...
Letters to the editor: July 16, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 16, 2018

I think we should have a city law — a state or national law would be even better — that says every business must have its address number posted where it is easily visible from the street. This is apparently already a requirement for residences, since they are usually easy to find. I am often frustrated in trying to find what block I am driving past because buildings do not have visible...

Opinion: What the cave boys teach us about abortion

Twelve boys and their adult coach trapped in a dank, oxygen-deprived cave in Thailand riveted the world’s attention for two weeks. Why, people ask at times like this, are we so focused on these individuals when half a million Rohingya refugee children are in danger of starving on the Bangladesh border, or when 400,000 Yemeni children are severely undernourished? The answer is drama. We saw images...

Opinion: Trump, tariffs, tofu and tax cuts

According to early indications, recent U.S. economic growth was full of beans. No, seriously. More than half of America’s soybean exports typically go to China, but Chinese tariffs will shift much of that demand to Brazil, and countries that normally get their soybeans from Brazil have raced to replace them with U.S. beans. The perverse result is that the prospect of tariffs has temporarily...

Books signings and other literary Austin, July 15-21, 2018

Bronson Dorsey. 5 p.m. Sunday. The photographer speaks and signs “Lost, Texas: Photographs of Forgotten Buildings.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Rusty Shelton and Adam Witty. 7 p.m. Monday. The authors speak and sign “Authority Marketing: How to Leverage 7 Pillars of Thought Leadership to Make Competition Irrelevant.” BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar Blvd. Brian Catling. 7 p.m Wednesday...
Facebook comments: July 15, 2018

Facebook comments: July 15, 2018

As reported by American-Statesman staff, Twitter users were quick to note Kay Bailey Hutchison’s seemingly uncomfortable reaction when President Donald Trump presented NATO leaders with a list of grievances during a meeting Wednesday. Hutchison is a former U.S. senator from Texas and is now serving as the U.S. ambassador to NATO. She was seated next to Trump as he told NATO Secretary-General...
Letters to the editor: July 15, 2018

Letters to the editor: July 15, 2018

I am urging my elected officials to address the withholding of $10.4 billion in risk-adjustment payments required by the Affordable Care Act. Any increase in the health insurance premiums and co-pays for my family will be catastrophic. My husband and I, along with nearly half of Americans, struggle with chronic disease. Nearly 70 percent of deaths each year are due to chronic disease. While I am no...
Ottessa Moshfegh’s new book asks what it means to check out of society

Ottessa Moshfegh’s new book asks what it means to check out of society

A young New York woman figures there’s nothing wrong with existence that a fistful of prescriptions and months of napping wouldn’t fix in Ottessa Moshfegh’s “My Year of Rest and Relaxation.” Moshfegh’s prickly fourth book is narrated by an unnamed woman who’s decided to spend a year “hibernating.” She has a few conventional grief issues. (Her parents...

Opinion: Tired of having to explain ourselves

For barbecuing. For selling bottled water. For napping in a dorm. For mowing a lawn. For smoking. Perhaps you recognize the list. If not, be advised that it represents a few of the slew of recent high-profile episodes in which police have been called out on black people for reasons so trivial, nonsensical and stupid as to beggar belief. These incidents, many captured in cellphone video, have resulted...

Opinion: Is Trump correct Mueller’s appointment was unconstitutional?

WASHINGTON — The president, who might not be fully acquainted with the pertinent Supreme Court case law, says the appointment of Robert Mueller as special counsel was unconstitutional. The president’s opinion, because it is his, is prima facie evidence for the opposite conclusion. It is, however, not sufficient evidence. Consider the debate between two serious people who have immersed...

Opinion: The center is sexier than you think

Enough about the Freedom Caucus. Enough about the Democratic Socialists of America. They’re flamboyant players in our political debate, but they’re extremes: More politicians — and most Americans — occupy the expansive territory in between. That’s where the pivotal races in 2018 are being fought. And if Democrats take back the House, it’s where any legislation with...

Opinion: Vulnerable Democrats should hope for GOP unity on Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON — It is difficult to imagine any Republican senator opposing President Trump’s nomination to the Supreme Court of Brett M. Kavanaugh, a judge with impeccable credentials, strong intellect and sterling character. If Republicans stay united, Kavanaugh’s confirmation as the next associate justice is assured. And no one is praying harder for Republican unity than the three...
Facebook comments: July 13, 2018

Facebook comments: July 13, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Amanda O’Donnell, according to a new LendingTree report, Austin is the Texas city boasting the largest percentage of $1 million homes. Of all the homes in Austin 2.16 percent are valued at or over a million dollars — the 11th-highest percentage in the country. However, the list places Austin’s median home price at a much more reasonable...

Opinion: Hypocrites for Kavanaugh

WASHINGTON — Be prepared for a festival of hypocrisy, evasion and misdirection from supporters of the confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. Begin with the idea that because Kavanaugh is qualified, well-educated, intelligent and likable, senators should fall in line behind him. Sorry, but Senate Republicans have already demonstrated that none of these characteristics matters...
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