Opinion


Editorial: Take time to vet Kavanaugh allegation, run proper hearing

The stakes couldn’t be higher. The next justice to be sworn onto the U.S. Supreme Court will likely serve for decades, providing a pivotal fifth vote on a nine-member court that has been narrowly divided on critical issues. The Affordable Care Act. Marriage equality. Protections for immigrants and visitors from Muslim-majority countries. Regulations of guns, abortion, campaign dollars and free...


Herman: The building says something else, but you know him as Ronnie

Herman: The building says something else, but you know him as Ronnie

You know that deal when you don’t immediately recognize somebody’s real name? George Herman Ruth? Oh yeah, The Babe. Thomas Jonathan Jackson? Stonewall. Richard Starkey? Ringo. I kind of sort of had one of those moments this week while walking on West 11th Street across from the Travis County Courthouse. Bold letters on the bright and brand new, seven-story building there identifies it...
Commentary: When the Endangered Species Act arrived, species revived

Commentary: When the Endangered Species Act arrived, species revived

When humans arrived, species died. Homo sapiens in our geologically recent dispersal out of Africa have left paths of destruction across the planet, the one place in the universe we actually know life exists. Now, the Trump administration wants to roll back the Endangered Species Act (ESA), one of the cornerstones for the protection of this living planet. But we seem little concerned through the ever-deafening...
Commentary: I lead Texas’ education board. Our decisions aren’t partisan

Commentary: I lead Texas’ education board. Our decisions aren’t partisan

History and social studies teachers in Texas schools must perform a daily quickstep if they want to keep up with rigorous curriculum standards that require them to educate children about high-priority topics and key historical figures. The Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards set the bar high, with third-graders expected to learn about “the purposes of the Declaration of Independence...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 20, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 20, 2018

Re: Sept. 16 commentary, “Both-sideism presents more than journalistic problem.” Leonard Pitts raises an important structural issue in journalism related to fairness. Some would have us believe that ethical and moral considerations exist as mathematical equations. This inevitably leads to false equivalencies in which cultural values are treated as numbers. One Klansman or conspiracy theorist...
Editorial: Hard liquor ban is first step in safer Greek life culture

Editorial: Hard liquor ban is first step in safer Greek life culture

Removing hard liquor from University of Texas fraternity houses and events is an important first step. But, the Greek organizations, university leaders and lawmakers looking to prevent drinking-related deaths and other tragedies, as well as dangerous hazing incidents, also need to add some things to the equation: Greater public transparency on whether fraternities and sororities are abiding by the...
Young: If Pence will take a polygraph test, let’s ask these questions

Young: If Pence will take a polygraph test, let’s ask these questions

Mike Pence has offered to take a polygraph. Quick. Rush a device to his side. No – there’s no chance whatsoever he’s the senior official who wrote the anonymous New York Times commentary that branded his boss petty, amoral and consistently acting in ways “detrimental to the health of this republic.” Why do we know the author in The Times isn’t Pence? That&rsquo...
Commentary: Big brother’s assault on the Texas startup community

Commentary: Big brother’s assault on the Texas startup community

Will the U.S. Congress succeed at using government force to put a damper on the Texas startup community? Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Roger Williams (R-Texas), believe that Texas may soon overtake California as the Startup Capital of the World because, as Fox Business summarized, “entrepreneurs are ditching Silicon Valley and heading south to Texas instead to launch their startups.” And...
Commentary: Quality child care yields many benefits

Commentary: Quality child care yields many benefits

OK, let me clear up a semantic issue: A lot of people interchange “day care” with “child care.” My daughter has spent almost three decades in child care management. Years ago, she admonished me when I innocently used the term “day care.” “Daddy, our industry takes care of children, not days of the week.” Now, let’s get serious and address the benefits...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 19, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 19, 2018

Re: Sept. 16 commentary, “Lower blood-alcohol limit for DWI.” Marcus Kowal makes a convincing case for more stringent laws for driving while intoxicated. Years ago, I served on a jury for the first and only time. It was a DWI case. I was the only holdout for conviction. My fellow jurors had the attitude of “it’s not as if the accused had committed a ‘real’ crime...
INSIGHT: Immigration is about lineage, not lines on a map

INSIGHT: Immigration is about lineage, not lines on a map

A group of mostly strangers gathered in a soggy cemetery on Sunday, stood around the grave of a Mexico-born man they never met and celebrated a significant moment: his citizenship. Not his U.S. citizenship. His Republic of Texas citizenship. If that gives you pause, that’s OK. If there is one issue that should force us to stop accepting simplistic, easy-to-debate narratives, it is immigration...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 18, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 18, 2018

Re: Sept. 9 article, “’Broken’ economics impacts preschool workers, child care sector.” Sally Ho astutely recognizes Seattle families’ struggle to find affordable, high-quality care for their young children. I believe it’s important to note that Austin isn’t immune from the preschool workforce challenges that Seattle grapples with. In Austin, more than 60...
Opinion: I lost my infant to a drunk driver. A change could save lives

Opinion: I lost my infant to a drunk driver. A change could save lives

Sept. 12 marks two years since the funeral of my 15-month-old son, Liam. He had been in a stroller, being pushed through a pedestrian crosswalk in suburban Los Angeles by my sister-in-law, who was 15 years old at the time. She had done everything right: pressed the button, waited for the lights to change and then started walking. Other cars stopped, but one didn’t. Police later estimated that...
Editorial: Lawsuit to kill Obamacare would hurt many Texans, too

Editorial: Lawsuit to kill Obamacare would hurt many Texans, too

It’s no secret Attorney General Ken Paxton opposes the federal health care law. But his animus toward the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, runs so deep that he is now leading a stampede of Republican state attorneys general over a cliff to attack the most vital pieces of the law — recklessly disregarding the health consequences for Texans and the political...
Facebook comments: Sept. 15, 2018

Facebook comments: Sept. 15, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Shonda Novak and Michael Barnes, Threadgill’s World Headquarters will close its location at 301 W. Riverside Drive after Thanksgiving, said owner Eddie Wilson. Wilson said property tax increases were the cause for closing the landmark Austin restaurant, but that the original Threadgill’s location on North Lamar Boulevard will remain open. LaRon...
Facebook comments: Sept. 16, 2018

Facebook comments: Sept. 16, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Elizabeth Findell, Austin city leaders approved a $4.1 billion budget — the city’s largest. It passed with a 10-1 vote Tuesday, with Council Member Ellen Troxclair opposing. It sets a tax rate of 44.03 cents per $100 of property value, making the city’s portion of the tax bill roughly $1,317 for a median value home, worth $332,366. That&rsquo...
Commentary: Show us the money; let us see how tax dollars are spent

Commentary: Show us the money; let us see how tax dollars are spent

It’s quite simple, really. We Texans have a right to know how our taxpayer dollars are spent. It’s our money. We, the people, choose our government. Our elected public officials represent us. They manage and spend our tax money. But we, the people, get to decide whether they are doing it well. To do that, we need light shining on the workings of our government. But that essential element...

Commentary: What Austin ISD is doing to close its budget deficit

Public education is a bedrock of American life, enshrined as a right of all Texans by the Texas Constitution. Keeping public education healthy requires vigilance, especially when state public education funding is broken. Making this even more challenging is that the Austin Independent School District is struggling with a large and unsustainable structural budget deficit. The district and the newly...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 14, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 14, 2018

Re: Sept. 9 article, “PolitiFact: How Cruz’s ad distorts what O’Rourke said about protests” and Sept. 12 letter to the letter, “Cruz, his ethics, have no place in U.S. Senate.” Even after President Trump attacked Ted Cruz’s family during the Republican primaries, Cruz has said he’d “welcome” support from President Trump for his campaign....
Letters to the editor: Sept. 13, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 13, 2018

Re: Sept. 10 commentary, “Wear: The road goes on, but this reporter is taking the exit.” It was with sadness and regret that I read Ben Wear’s final column in Monday’s paper. Wear had an uncanny knack of making a dry subject like transportation interesting. His columns were informative and clever, and always a joy to read. I will miss his voice and wish him well in any future...
Commentary: All of us have a natural tendency to become rigid

Commentary: All of us have a natural tendency to become rigid

Political scientists and those who study political communication have long observed that one of the oddities of human behavior is that people often vote and behave in ways that contradict their own interests. One of the most recent and vivid examples of this is the proclivity of a large percentage of evangelicals to support a president whose words and deeds violate some of the most basic ethical tenets...
Young: This tops the list of the worst things President Trump has done

Young: This tops the list of the worst things President Trump has done

The curly-haired tot bows his back and looks away, as if to attempt an escape. The woman, attempting a hug, quickly grows agitated. “I am your mommy, papi,” she says in Spanish. He squirms to get away. “What is wrong with my son?” she sobs in a heartbreaking video shared by the American Civil Liberties Union. He doesn’t recognize her. They’ve been separated for...
Grumet: Marijuana made it look easy, but court diversions can be hard

Grumet: Marijuana made it look easy, but court diversions can be hard

Travis County Attorney David Escamilla jokes that maybe he shouldn’t have started with the marijuana diversion program. “It was so easy, it just gave me high hopes that we’d be able to cookie-cutter everything else,” he told me with a chuckle this summer. In a county continually working to keep low-level offenders from getting mired in the costly cycle of fines and multiple...
Herman: Way north of the border, a solution for color-blind drivers

Herman: Way north of the border, a solution for color-blind drivers

Done properly, life is one long quest. It is left to each of us to define the quest. For some, it is inner peace. For others, it is world peace. For yet others, it’s the perfect piece of pie. For me, it is a quest for a place where accommodations are made for those of us inflicted with the only disability it’s still OK to laugh about. I am color blind. More precisely, I’ve been told...
Commentary: Time for the State Board of Education to teach the truth

Commentary: Time for the State Board of Education to teach the truth

Before kickoff in the Super Bowl, the first pitch in the World Series, and tipoff of the NBA Championship Finals, both teams have already pre-printed T-shirts proclaiming themselves as world champions. When the games are over, the losers’ shirts are sent overseas to impoverished countries, which explains why children across the world grow up thinking that the Buffalo Bills won four straight...
Phillips: Council Member asks why no black groups got Bloomberg grants

Phillips: Council Member asks why no black groups got Bloomberg grants

Austin City Council Member Ora Houston has a question for Bloomberg Philanthropies: Why weren’t any of the 26 nonprofit arts organizations that received sizable Bloomberg grants affiliated with African Americans or African American culture? It’s a question she is putting in writing to Bloomberg Philanthropies, noting that Austin has several black arts nonprofits that seem to fit the public...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 10, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 10, 2018

If Amazon picks Austin for its so-called HQ2, I’m not so sure that’s a good thing. Why? Because Austin is already near full employment. So, 50,000 new jobs might mean up to 50,000 new families moving to Austin. Results? Increased demand for housing, which would cause the already high average house price in Austin to increase. Fifty-thousand more families commuting on Austin’s already...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 9, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 9, 2018

I am a Texan with a medically complex child diagnosed in utero with several life-threatening diagnoses. I stay home with my child and give her the best care possible. My family of four has private insurance through my husband’s employer that gives us access to health care. My child’s life depends on access to health care that accepts pre-existing conditions. Though the Medicaid funding...
Editorial: Texas must make schools a place to thrive, not just survive

Editorial: Texas must make schools a place to thrive, not just survive

Students returning to school a few weeks ago likely noticed new security features at their campuses. More locked doors and secure entrances where visitors must be buzzed in. Fewer fire alarms that can be pulled by anyone. A new police presence on some campuses, and unbeknownst to students, a growing number of armed employees trained to take out anyone who opens fire on a school. Even as districts...
TWO VIEWS: Let’s take a closer look at Trump’s modernized NAFTA plan

TWO VIEWS: Let’s take a closer look at Trump’s modernized NAFTA plan

Stocks are soaring, and consumer confidence is higher than it’s been in 18 years, thanks in part to the Trump administration’s aggressive renegotiation of outdated U.S. trade deals. Its latest push to modernize NAFTA has been particularly well-received by the market. In response to an announcement that the U.S. and Mexico had reached a preliminary bilateral trade deal, both the S&P 500...
TWO VIEWS: Remember Trump University? On the president and NAFTA

TWO VIEWS: Remember Trump University? On the president and NAFTA

What are we to make of President Trump’s proposed changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement? Not much. It’s best to remember that each Trump policy and initiative is just another Trump University — that is, a con that will leave America less well off than it would be if Trump did nothing at all. You remember Trump University, right? It was in the news a while back, but it...
Editorial: Austin needs smarter enforcement of short-term rental rules

Editorial: Austin needs smarter enforcement of short-term rental rules

Austin still has thousands of unlicensed short-term rentals. Too many party houses disrupt family-friendly neighborhoods with drunken and sometimes vulgar displays. Numerous homeowners remain frustrated by the city’s permitting process. And an untold amount of hotel tax revenue is going uncollected. In short, Austin faces some of the same problems that prompted the 2016 overhaul of rules for...
Analysis: Use the 25th Amendment on President Trump? Why that’s tricky

Analysis: Use the 25th Amendment on President Trump? Why that’s tricky

A stunning, unsigned op-ed in The New York Times reported on Sept. 5 that members of President Donald Trump’s Cabinet discussed removing him from power by using the 25th Amendment, but decided against it to avoid causing a “constitutional crisis.” As a law professor who studies the presidency, I have written extensively on the 25th Amendment. Interest in this form of presidential...
Commentary: Why Texas is still the ‘prison rape capital of the world’

Commentary: Why Texas is still the ‘prison rape capital of the world’

Fifteen years ago, President George Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act to address the epidemic of prison rape in our country’s prisons and jails. The same year PREA passed, Passion Star was 19 years old and identified as LGBT. Star was sentenced to 20 years in the Texas prison system and knew nothing about PREA at the time. But Star would quickly become intimately familiar with this...
Herman: The GOP has selected me to represent my U.S. House district

Herman: The GOP has selected me to represent my U.S. House district

Once again, as our beloved nation charts its path through perilous times, I am chosen. It says so right there in the materials in the envelope marked, “Do Not Destroy. Official Document. Final Notice.” Gulp. Inside, in a letter penned on “Wednesday Morning,” Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel was clear, if not concise, in pinpointing the task now facing...
Commentary: How Kavanaugh could undermine diversity at U.S. colleges

Commentary: How Kavanaugh could undermine diversity at U.S. colleges

The Supreme Court’s longstanding position has been that colleges and universities have a compelling interest in diversity and may consider race among many factors when assessing qualified students for admission. But, if Brett Kavanaugh is appointed, that position could change and would probably signal a return to pre-Civil Rights era, race-neutral admissions policies. This is not what America...
Herman: Is it possible some Texans will vote for Beto and Abbott?

Herman: Is it possible some Texans will vote for Beto and Abbott?

General election campaign season is here. And that generally means a bumper crop of bumper stickers and yard signs. But here’s one you probably won’t see: “Beto and Abbott in ’18.” What kind of politically twisted, tortured soul would vote for GOP Gov. Greg Abbott’s re-election and Democrat Beto O’Rourke’s bid to unseat GOP U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz? You vote...
Commentary: Why libraries should start public talks on 3D-printed guns

Commentary: Why libraries should start public talks on 3D-printed guns

As technology continues to play a more significant role in our daily lives, what role does the academic library play? Although libraries provide critical and meaningful educational opportunities, they can also educate people about the ways in which technology can be used for illicit purposes, such as printing guns that are then circulated in underground markets. The use of 3D printers for the creation...
Commentary: How Texas shames teens who seek an abortion

Commentary: How Texas shames teens who seek an abortion

Do you remember what it was like to be a teenager? Dreading being called on to read out loud in class, hoping you wouldn’t mess up? The intense fear of being humiliated in front of your peers – like in those dreams where you go to school naked? Some of those common adolescent fears — and worse — come true for adolescents seeking abortion in Texas. Teens are humiliated in court...
Commentary: Quality of U.S. health care drops as the cost of it rises

Commentary: Quality of U.S. health care drops as the cost of it rises

I thoroughly agree with the Cal Thomas’ opinion piece on U.S. health care printed in the Aug. 28 edition of the Statesman. This is a huge multifactorial problem affecting the entire country. There are a few points that should be emphasized on this matter. The down fall of this country’s health care began in 1973, when the first malpractice crisis took place. The insurance companies...
Young: Being like Trump is no formula for victory this fall

Young: Being like Trump is no formula for victory this fall

Let’s acknowledge that Sen. Ted Cruz got something right once upon a time. It happened in 2016 — when he called then-presidential candidate Donald Trump a “pathological liar” and a “sniveling coward.” Now? Cruz will hug him tightly to his chest in a few weeks when Trump comes to Texas in a bid to save Cruz’s Senate seat. This should be fun. The sniveling....
Letters to the editor: Sept. 5. 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 5. 2018

Re: Aug. 31 article, “Trump says he’s canceling pay raises.” If you ever worked for the federal government – and there are legions of us – you must inwardly weep at President Trump’s having canceled the previously budgeted 2 percent cost-of-living pay raise for federal employees. The president’s justification: The imperative to get government spending under...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 4, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 4, 2018

Re: Aug. 30 article, “Feds target border-area passport seekers.” We have recently learned that the Trump administration has been revoking passports from citizens of the United States based solely on where they were born. Every American who supports our ideals of civil liberties and equal justice for all should be outraged by this revelation. Our representatives must investigate this abhorrent...

Opinion: What the Times misses about poverty

It’s an affecting story. Matthew Desmond, writing in The New York Times Magazine, profiles Vanessa Solivan, a poor single mother raising three children. Vanessa works as a home health aide, yet she and her three adolescent children are often reduced to sleeping in her car, a 2004 Chrysler Pacifica. In the morning, she takes her two daughters and one son to her mother’s house to wash and...

Opinion: Days of fear, years of obstruction

Lehman Bros. failed 10 years ago. The U.S. economy was already in a recession, but Lehman’s fall and the chaos that followed sent it off a cliff: Six and a half million jobs would be lost during the next year. We didn’t experience a full replay of the Great Depression, and some have argued that the system worked, in the sense that policymakers did what was needed to avoid catastrophe....
Facebook comments: Sept. 23, 2018

Facebook comments: Sept. 23, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Chuck Lindell, Republican Pete Flores defeated Democrat Pete Gallego in Tuesday’s runoff election for Senate District 19, which stretches from San Antonio to the Big Bend region and the New Mexico border. At Flores’ campaign victory party in San Antonio, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick told supporters: “Seven weeks from tonight, I have a message...
Rivalry turns deadly in David Pinto’s compelling, unpredictable ‘Nemesis’

Rivalry turns deadly in David Pinto’s compelling, unpredictable ‘Nemesis’

A friendly rivalry turns deadly in “Nemesis” by David Pinto. Elliot Barrett’s life is an enviable one. He’s a prestigious physician with a thriving practice, a well-appointed home in New York City, a devoted wife, and two loving children. He risks it all when he becomes romantically involved with Lindsey Anderson, the seductive daughter of a patient. When she turns up dead...

Opinion: Ari Fleischer asks if we’re being fair to Brett Kavanaugh

Ari Fleischer wants to know if we’re being fair. “How much in society should any of us be held liable today when we’ve lived a good life, an upstanding life by all accounts, and then something that maybe is an arguable issue, took place in high school? Should that deny us chances later in life?” Fleischer, a former spokesman for President George W. Bush, raised that question...

Opinion: Fear-based parenting

Police came to Kim Brooks’ parents’ door in suburban Richmond, Virginia, demanding that her mother say where her daughter was or be arrested for obstructing justice. So began a Kafkaesque two-year ordeal that plunged Brooks into reflections about current parenting practices. It also produced a book, “Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear,” that is a catalogue of symptoms...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 22, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 22, 2018

Re: Sept. 18 article, “Is Ted Cruz’s ‘summons’ letter deceptive, illegal or fair play?” I am writing in response to the recent mailing of “summons” letters on behalf of Cruz’s campaign. As the race between Ted Cruz and Beto O’Rourke becomes tighter, the Cruz campaign has resorted to unfair play in my opinion. Though the article did state that what...

Opinion: Trump is racking up record of foreign policy success

WASHINGTON — In his new book “Fear,” Bob Woodward recounts that in April 2017, after President Trump saw images of dead Syrian children with their mouths foaming from a sarin attack, he called Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and issued an order: Get me a plan for a military strike to take out Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. “Let’s (expletive) kill him!” Trump told...

Opinions: Of time, tides and Trump

OK, I know you’re obsessed about sex and the Supreme Court. But the hurricane flooding in North Carolina has been terrible. Let’s give it some serious thought right now. Particularly when it comes to ways the government screwed up. First lesson is easy. Coastal flooding is getting way, way worse because of global warming. So obviously we’ve got to join other nations in combating...

Letters to the editor: Sept. 21, 2018

One intriguing aspect of “all politicians lie” is no politician ever disputes the claim. Politicians welcome the phrase as normal behavior in society. Once accepted, politicians are free from the burden of telling the truth. A trial defendant caught in a lie will be convicted. An applicant who lies during a job interview will not be hired. Politicians, on the other hand, can lie without...
Facebook comments: Sept. 21, 2018

Facebook comments: Sept. 21, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Mary Huber, 13 neighborhoods are starting to gentrify or see longtime residents displaced by rising property values, according to a new University of Texas study. Touted by researchers as one of the first steps toward solving the city’s affordability problem, the study looked at areas with large proportions of economically vulnerable residents, such...

Opinion: The late hit on Judge Kavanaugh

Upon the memory and truthfulness of Christine Blasey Ford hangs the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, his reputation, and possibly his career on the nation’s second highest court. And much more. If Kavanaugh is voted down or forced to withdraw, the Republican Party and conservative movement could lose their last best hope for recapturing the high court for constitutionalism...

Opinion: Why the haste with Kavanaugh?

WASHINGTON — For those insisting that Republican senators take Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Judge Brett Kavanaugh seriously, one aspect of the conversation is particularly infuriating: the notion that the timeline established by the GOP for completing this process is quasi-sacred. Virtually everyone commenting on Kavanaugh’s nomination comes to it with a point of view...
Editorial: Hard liquor ban is first step in safer Greek life culture

Editorial: Hard liquor ban is first step in safer Greek life culture

Removing hard liquor from University of Texas fraternity houses and events is an important first step. But, the Greek organizations, university leaders and lawmakers looking to prevent drinking-related deaths and other tragedies, as well as dangerous hazing incidents, also need to add some things to the equation: Greater public transparency on whether fraternities and sororities are abiding by the...

Opinion: Three big lessons we didn’t learn from economic crisis

Ten years ago, after making piles of money gambling with other people’s money, Wall Street nearly imploded, and the outgoing George W. Bush and incoming Obama administrations bailed out the bankers. America should have learned three big lessons from the crisis. We didn’t, to our continuing peril. First unlearned lesson: Banking is a risky business with huge upsides for the few who gamble...

Opinion: Reasoning about race

So much of our reasoning about race is both emotional and faulty. In ordinary, as well as professional, conversation, we use terms such as discrimination, prejudice, racial preferences and racism interchangeably, as if they referred to the same behavior. We can avoid many pitfalls of misguided thinking about race by establishing operational definitions so as to not confuse one behavior with another...
Facebook comments: Sept. 18, 2018

Facebook comments: Sept. 18, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Peter Blackstock, Willie Nelson is headlining a rally and concert Sept. 29 at Auditorium Shores for U.S. Senate candidate Beto O’Rourke. Joe Ely, Carrie Rodriguez, Tameca Jones and Nelson’s sons Lukas and Micah Nelson are set to perform. Nelson brought O’Rourke onstage during his Fourth of July Picnic this summer; O’Rourke joined...

Opinion: Conservatism after Christianity

One of the many paradoxes of the Trump era is that our unusual president couldn’t have been elected, and couldn’t survive politically today, without the support of religious conservatives … but at the same time his ascent was intimately connected to the secularization of conservatism, and his style gives us a taste of what to expect from a post-religious right. The second point...

Opinion: Trump’s detention policy fiscally exorbitant

President Trump’s callous disregard for his fellow citizens is well known to people of a certain hue, shall we say. It was in full display this week in his insistence that only a few dozen Puerto Ricans died as a result of Hurricane Maria, whereas nearly 3,000 who actually did. He made this claim while congratulating himself on the federal response to the catastrophe. That was bad enough. As...

Facebook comments: Sept. 17, 2018

As reported by the American-Statesman’s Chuck Lindell, a Corpus Christi federal judge has rejected a challenge seeking to end statewide elections for Texas’ highest criminal and civil courts, allowing an electoral tradition that is more than a century old to continue. The lawsuit was filed by Latino voters and LUPE, an organization founded by the late civil rights activist Cesar Chavez...

Opinion: Democrats are credible on health care

Last week, Ted Cruz, the unexpectedly endangered Republican senator from Texas, warned that Beto O’Rourke, his Democratic opponent, would turn the state into California, with “tofu and silicone and dyed hair.” Does Cruz really think every blonde in Texas — and every middle-age man with remarkably little gray — is natural, and nobody has had work done? Meanwhile, Sen....

Opinion: The unpardonable heresy of Tucker Carlson

Our diversity is our greatest strength. After playing clips of Democratic politicians reciting that truth of modern liberalism, Tucker Carlson asked, “How, precisely, is diversity our strength? Since you’ve made this our new national motto, please be specific.” Reaction to Carlson’s question, with some declaring him a racist for having raised it, suggests that what we are dealing...
Eccentric mystery ‘Infinite Blacktop’ spans 25 years and three cases

Eccentric mystery ‘Infinite Blacktop’ spans 25 years and three cases

An existentially weary PI confronts three major cases that may be related in Sara Gran’s “The Infinite Blacktop,” a fragmented take on the hard-boiled mystery genre. She wasn’t supposed to walk away from the accident, but somehow, intrepid PI Claire DeWitt survives, because, as she tells herself, she is the best detective in the world. In fact, in her whole career, there is...
Letters to the editor: Sept. 16, 2018

Letters to the editor: Sept. 16, 2018

The current race between Sen. Ted Cruz and challenger Beto O’Rourke is a classic case of the adage that you “sell the sizzle and not the steak.” O’Rourke is playing the “everyman” game as he drives around in a pickup truck and uses salty language to impress his audiences. On the other hand, Cruz has proven by his actions in the Senate for the past six years that...

Opinion: Both-sideism not just a journalistic problem

A prediction. When the history of this era is written, when future generations wonder how a mostly educated and largely literate nation became mired in “truthiness,” when they ask how we became so mentally muddled that we lost the ability to identify facts and the capacity to care, they’ll find many culprits. They’ll blame Fox “News” for feeding the fearful a steady...

Opinion: The college campus’s cult of fragility

The beginning of another academic year brings the certainty of campus episodes illustrating what Daniel Patrick Moynihan, distinguished professor and venerated politician, called “the leakage of reality from American life.” Colleges and universities are increasingly susceptible to intellectual fads and political hysteria, partly because the institutions employ so many people whose talents...

Opinion: Age before beauty, but not politics

And now, the politics of age. Hey, this is important. Grow up and pay attention. Young, left-leaning candidates are revolting against older, traditional Democrats in primary elections around the country. Meanwhile, the best-known, most talked-about potential presidential candidates are Bernie Sanders, 77; Joe Biden, 75; and Elizabeth Warren, 69. And in the House, where the top three Democratic leaders...

Opinion: Trump should protect Americans from Criminal Court

WASHINGTON — Should an unaccountable United Nations court, created by a treaty to which the United States is not a signatory, and that the Senate has not ratified, be allowed to investigate, try and imprison American citizens? Unfortunately, this is no longer a theoretical question. In November, the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague, Fatou Bensouda, announced...
Austin’s Scott Von Doviak digs into Boston’s past in new crime novel

Austin’s Scott Von Doviak digs into Boston’s past in new crime novel

Scott Von Doviak has lived in Austin since 1996. Which practically makes him a native — at least by the standards of an era in which more and more folks flow into town every year about a month or so after South by Southwest makes them say, “Wow, Austin rocks!” But his excellent new crime novel, “Charlesgate Confidential,” out this month, is set in Boston, where the Maine...
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